Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

The Sunday of the Samaritan Woman: “Give me this water!”

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 30 April 2010

Русский: Неделя о самарянке: «Дай мне этой воды!»

Christ is risen!

Last week we heard the Gospel story about the healing font in Jerusalem, and about Christ, the Source of all healings, raising a paralyzed man.  And, as if in unison with that man, we asked the Savior to raise our souls that are paralyzed by sins.  On Wednesday we celebrated Mid-Pentecost, recalling the Savior’s teaching at a synagogue that He had come to heal the whole man (John 7:23) and to give him life; and also, remembering that Christ is the Source of life (John 7:37), we blessed the waters, asking God to give us His healing grace through the visible matter of water.  Today, as if continuing to point to the salvific font, to the spring of pure water, the Holy Church offers us a Gospel reading about Christ which likens His coming to the water of life, which quenches all thirst and flows into eternal life. (more…)

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More to the Point: Should Nuns Light Their Icon Lamps?

Posted in Women in the Church by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 28 April 2010

As a continuation of the discussion started in my previous paper, “On ‘Ritual Impurity’: In Response to Sister Vassa (Larin),[1] I now would like to address some of the issues that have been raised in greater detail.  The problem that has been posed by Sister Vassa is as follows:

When I entered a convent of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in France, I was introduced to the restrictions imposed on a nun when she has her [monthly] period. Although she was allowed to go to church and pray, she was not to go to Communion; she could not kiss the icons or touch the Antidoron; she could not help bake prosphoras or handle them, nor could she help clean the church; she could not even light the lampada or iconlamp that hung before the icons in her own cell: this last rule was explained to me when I noticed an unlighted lampada in the icon-corner of another sister.[2]

The conclusion at which Sr. Vassa arrives after a study of early Church writings and contemporary opinions expressed by a handful of ecclesiastical bodies is that the rules surrounding “ritual impurity” are “a rather disconcerting, fundamentally non-Christian phenomenon in the guise of Orthodox piety.”  In my previous paper, I raised some very general concerns about Sr. Vassa’s methodology in addressing the issue of ritual impurity in the Orthodox Church.  In this paper, I wish to attempt to find some constructive ways forward…

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A new book by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

There Is No Sex in the Church!: On the Problematics of Sexuality and Gender In Orthodoxy

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Other Books by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

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On “Ritual Impurity”: In Response to Sister Vassa (Larin)

Posted in Women in the Church by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 27 April 2010

I recently read an interesting paper by Doctor Sister Vassa (Larin) concerning the issue of ritual impurity in the Orthodox Church. This topic is extremely important both because the bodily functions that give rise to this issue have been around presumably since the fall of Adam and Eve and because they are not likely to go away any time soon, save for an imminent parousia.  Namely, Sister Vassa explores the attitudes in the Church toward menstruation, although the issue of ritual impurity is broader than that, and I shall return to this point.

In a sort of deconstruction of the Orthodox tradition with respect to menstruating women’s participation in the liturgical life of the Church, Sister Vassa briefly examines the evidence of this tradition and conflicting opinions from various sources—the Old Testament, the Protoevangelium of James, writings of the Church Fathers—and notes some of the recent developments which point to the instability of the tradition.  The conclusion to which Sister Vassa arrives is that ritual impurity “finds no justification in Christian anthropology and soteriology.”  But is this really so?  I believe that a few comments made by Sister Vassa deserve further examination.

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A new book by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

There Is No Sex in the Church!: On the Problematics of Sexuality and Gender In Orthodoxy

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Other Books by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

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The Sunday of the Paralytic: “Do you want to be made well?”

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 24 April 2010

Русский: Неделя о расслабленном: «Хочешь ли быть здоров?»

Christ is risen!

Here we are, halfway between the Holy Resurrection of the Lord, the day of the salvation of the world, and Holy Pentecost, the birthday of the Church.  The holy Church, as if connecting both holidays with an invisible thread, tells us about the healing of the paralytic by Christ on the day of the Jewish Pentecost.  In this story we hear about the paralysis of sin and lengthy, very lengthy awaiting of healing, about hopelessness and the coming of Christ, our hope, and finally we hear the commandment to lead a righteous life. (more…)

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The Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearers

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 17 April 2010

Русский: Неделя жен-мироносиц

Christ is risen!

Today the Church celebrates the memory of the holy myrrh-bearing women.  The holy women were faithful disciples of Christ and always remained near the Lord in His earthly service.  They listened to his preaching in Galilean synagogues, walked with Him to Jerusalem, were present at the resurrection of Lazarus, cried with the Mother of God at the foot of the Savior’s Cross and followed Joseph and Nicodemus to the tomb.  They spent the hours following the Crucifixion in pain and agony with what was left of the Lord’s disciples.  Undoubtedly, their hearts burnt with the desire to run to the Lord, but they observed the Sabbath with other Jews “because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity” (John 19:31 NRSV). (more…)

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Saint Thomas Sunday

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 9 April 2010

Русский: Неделя Фомина

Christ is risen!

All of Bright Week we lived in the Paschal joy in the risen Savior; and our joy, just like that of the holy apostles, was mixed with confusion: not long ago we had remembered the death of Him Who is the Source of life, but now we rejoice, having been raised to life by Him Who had been in the tomb.  Just like the holy disciples and apostles during the first days after the resurrection, we vividly remembered the passions of Christ during the reading of the 12 Gospels; the Lord’s death and the taking down of His Body from the Cross, which we symbolized by the bringing out of the shroud; the Savior’s burial, when we carried the shroud in a procession around the church; and the long hours awaiting the miracle on the Saturday of Great Stillness. (more…)

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