That Priest and Lay People Should Not Be in a Hurry to Leave Church

Repose of the Venerable Sergius, Abbot and Wonderworker of Radonezh

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,



O Master and God, Father Almighty Lord, and Only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit, One Divinity and Power, have mercy on me a sinner, and save me, Your unworthy servant, in any way You know; for You are Blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.


On September 25th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, and Teachers of Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Efrosyne of Alexandria; Saint Paphnoutios the holy Martyr and his 546 Companions in Egypt.

OUR HOLY MOTHER EUPHROSYNE (EFROSYNE). The daughter of a rich and eminent man, St. Paphnutius, from Alexandria, she was besought of God by her childless parents, who brought their daughter up in the Christian faith. Not wishing to marry, the young Saint Efrosyne, in order to hide from her father, dressed herself in men's clothing and presented herself to the Abbot of a Monastery as a eunuch of the Emperor Theodosius with the name of Smaragdos. The Abbot received her and placed her under the guidance of the monk Agapetus as spiritual father. By her fasting and prayers, Smaragdos quickly outstripped the other monks in the monastery. When she had spent thirty-eight years in strict asceticism, Saint Paphnutius visisted the monastery and the Abbot placed him in Smaragdos's care for prayer and counsel. Smaradagdos recognized Paphnutius, but Paphnutius did not recognize her. When her father confessed his grief for his lost daughter again and prayed to see her once more in this life, and asked him to come again in three day's time. When Paphnutius returned, Smaragdos was on her deathbed. Then the dying monk said to Paphnutius: 'I am Euphrosyne, your daughter; you are my father. '. Her father could not for a long time collect himself, for sheer astonishment. Then Saint Euphrosyne breathed her last and her father wept over her. After burying her body, he labored for ten years (up to his own death) in the cell of his departed, holy daughter.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.


Holy Epistles Lesson: Ephesians 2:19-22; 3:1-7
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 5:12-16


"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, a servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also." [St. John 15:18-20]

by Saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite [source: Christian Morality]
Secondly, I implore you, both holy Priests and lay Christians, not to be in a hurry to depart from the Holy Church. Rather, holy Priests, you should read and chant the sacred services in the Church, those of Matins, the Divine Liturgy, and Vespers, slowly and with good order and reverence; as for you lay Christians, you should listen with diligence and attentiveness to what is being read and chanted, so that you may impress these things in your hearts and remember them thereafter. From such recollection you should guard yourselves against sinning, just as the Prophet David, by concealing the words of the Lord in his heart, was assisted by them and did not sin. Hence, he said: "Thy words have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." (Psalm 145:11). For what benefit is there, brothers and sisters, in going daily to the Church of God and then not receiving any fruit from what is said in Church, but emerging fruitless there from? The entire reason for you failure to bear fruit is:

1. That you do not pay attention to what you hear in church, but allow your mind to wonder into worldly and vain things. Hence, it is only your perceptible ears that hear, while the spiritual ears of your souls are stopped, and the word of God does not pass through them.

2. You are in haste at times to leave church in order to go, one person to the bazaar, another to his house, and another on some other worldly and bodily errand. Do you know what are the causes for you not paying attention to the Divine words and being in a hurry at times to leave the Temple of God? The first reason for this is the Devil, who, envious of your salvation, incites you in your hearts to leave church an hour earlier. At times, he causes you to become restless and to say that the Priest is taking too long; at times, he urges you to go to that church at which the Dismissal is given earlier than at others; at times, he compels some of you to go out of church before the Dismissal. The Devil does this, because he fears lest some word of God might be planted in your hearts, take root, and produce the fruit of virtue and spiritual benefit. The second reason for this, according to the divine Chrysostomos, is that the desire and appetite of your souls is marred by worldly and earthly affairs, and for this reason has no love, desire or taste for spiritual and heavenly things, just as when the desire and appetite of the body is ruined, it has no appetite or taste for any sensible food. Hence, this great evil follows you: that is, that you spend the whole time of the day on vain babbling, jesting, laughter, and worldly subjects, and you cannot endure one or two hours in Church, in order to hear about Heavenly things and the salvation of your souls, which the entire world does not match in value.

Instruction of the soul, the more intense it is, the more it strengthens the soul that receives it; but as it is, we devote all of our time to fatuous and futile prattle...; whereas, we when hear the Divine dogmas once or twice a week, we become nauseated and surfeited. What, then, is the reason? Our soul is in a bad way; we have weakened all of its appetite and desire for these matters. For this reason it does not have the strength to long for spiritual sustenance. This, among other things, is great proof of our sickness, that we neither hunger nor thirst, but have disgust towards both

Knowing, therefore, brothers and sisters, that this impatience and haste that you sometimes depart from the church of Christ is from the Devil and from your lack of spiritual appetite, compel yourselves, I implore you, to overcome this warfare of the devil and to remedy your lack of appetite toward the things of God.

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George