Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

The Third Sunday After Pentecost: Seek First His Kingdom And His Righteousness

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 11 June 2010

In today’s Gospel reading (Matt. 6:22-33), Christ urges us not to be anxious about our lives and bodies—what we shall eat, drink, or wear (25).  But how can this be, if we must eat and drink, and clothe ourselves?  Are we not earthly beings, who are bound by laws of biological existence?  Do we not come from our forefather Adam, who is dust (Gen. 3:19), and as he was so we also are (1 Cor. 15:48)?  This is true; we are descendants of Adam, and find ourselves in a fallen state.  We sustain our lives by devouring the created world, we wrap out bodies in that which is corruptible, our soul draws its inspiration from the lusts and desires of our bodies, and our spirit feeds on the passions of the soul.  This is the order of life that has become habitual to us, but it is not natural for us; God did not create us for such an existence. (more…)

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On the Significance of the Ritual of the Russian Orthodox Church Surrounding Death and Dying for the Grieving Process of the Bereaved

Posted in Articles, Practical Matters, Theology by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 7 June 2010

Presented at the Pastoral Conference of the  Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church

San Francisco, California, 18 March 2008

Imprimatur: † Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America

Introduction

For them that mourn and grieve who look for the consolation of Christ, let us pray to the Lord! (From the Great Litany during the Panikhida or the Requiem Service)

This workshop was designed to be presented to the clergy of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church abroad during the Spring 2008 Lenten Conference in San Francisco, California.  The purpose of the workshop is to provide the clergy with another tool in their work with grieving parishioners and their families as well as to raise the level of awareness of the stages of the process of grieving and the healing properties of the Church rituals which may be explored in relation to the grieving process.  As Lundquist writes in Ethnic Variations in Dying, Death, and Grief: Diversity in Universality, “death [in the dominant culture of the U.S.] is frequently treated as a taboo topic in conversation” (32).  This cultural conditioning of Orthodox Christians living in the U.S. goes against the millennia-old tradition of the Church Who reminds Her children that death is the ultimate culmination of the earthly life of every human.  The conversation about death, therefore, must be continued and supported within the Church which teaches, “in all you do, remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin” (Sirach 7:36 NRSV).  The participants of the workshop were invited to look at the meaning of Church rituals not only as the expression of Her beliefs concerning the fate of the reposed, but also and primarily, for this exercise, as a pastoral tool in helping the bereaved to transform the period of grieving and loss into a period of spiritual development and gain. (more…)

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The Second Sunday After Pentecost: The Feast of All Saints of Russia

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 4 June 2010

Today, on the second Sunday after Pentecost, we continue to explore the meaning of sanctity in our lives through the examples provided to us by the Church.  The Church guides us in the celebration of the memory of the saints who are the closest to us in culture, and often in time.  The numerous holy princes and peasants, learned and simple, monastics and soldiers, hermits and martyrs, men, women, and children—they are our ancestors and neighbors, parents and children, past and present.  Sanctity in the holy Church of Christ did not end in some long-ago century, but has always persevered, and is set as a standard for our own lives here and now.  Sanctity did not stop with the Apostles, or the Fathers, or even the New Martyrs of Russia, but reveals itself in the lives of the saints here in North America, some of whom many present here can remember personally.  And those who remember, for example, the life of Saint John of San Francisco, know that sanctity is not in spectacular fireworks or drumbeat from the sky, but in taking one’s cross and following Christ (Matt. 10:38). (more…)

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The First Sunday After Pentecost: On Sanctity

Posted in Sermons by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 3 June 2010

Today, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, the Holy Church celebrates the memory of all saints.  Just as Pentecost is not the pouring out of the Holy Spirit two millennia ago on the Apostles only, but on the whole Church—that is to say, on us—now as then; in the same way the Feast of All Saints is not a memorial or a tombstone on the graves of some ancients, but a call to sanctity for us here and now.  And if anyone is dead to this call, if anyone is a stranger to sanctity and considers it to be for someone else, in some other place, and at some other time, he must ask himself whether or not he is in the Church, the living and holy Body of Christ, or whether he is a tree that does not bring forth good fruit (see Matt. 3:10).  But what is sanctity?  And what does it mean to partake of it? (more…)

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