Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

“The kingdom of God is within you.”

Posted in Sermons, Uncategorized by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 17 February 2019

It is true that the perfect do not need rules and laws. But this is not because they are lawless, but because the Lawgiver Himself dwells in their hearts.

See also

God, Be Merciful To Us, Sinners

“On the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.”

On this the first Sunday of the Lenten cycle, we hear the story of the publican and the Pharisee. The story is a well-known one, and we hear it year after year. There is no great need to talk about it at length today, but to, perhaps, briefly remind ourselves some of the most important lessons from this story.

The first lesson is obvious: do not look at outward appearances. Put in modern Orthodox terms, the Pharisee is an observant Orthodox man who goes to church every Sunday and also on holidays, he observes all fasts and also Wednesdays and Fridays, he donates money to the church and maybe serves on the parish council. Everything this man does is good, and it is in our nature to assume that he is a good man.

The second man, the publican, is the exact opposite. In the United States, we do not have the exact equivalent of a person who collects taxes for an occupying pagan military by threatening and mistreating local residents, but we can, perhaps, imagine a job that would be seen by most modern Orthodox Christians as “unclean.” Imagine, for example, someone who writes grants for Planned Parenthood or something similar. He spends his time in the company of sinners, pagans, and atheists; he does not go to church very often; does not observe any fasts; and he is more interested in getting his Easter basket sprinkled with holy water than in participating in any parish building projects. By all outward appearances, we would not think of him as a good Christian. (more…)

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On the Value of Human Life

Posted in Reflections, Uncategorized by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 13 February 2019

In my previous post, I brought up the complexity of our view of the value of human life. For example, the good people of the State of New York, who are celebrating their new “fundamental right” to kill their own child on the very day the child is to be born (or on any prior day), find it inhumane to execute violent criminals. To be precise, the death penalty was first suspended in New York due to a technicality. Steven LaValle, who one Sunday morning raped a jogger and then stabbed her more than 70 times with a screwdriver and was sentenced to death, took his case all the way to the New York Court of Appeals. The court invalidated his death sentence due to the unconstitutionality of some of the jury instructions. Since then, for what is now more than two decades, the good people of New York have not only continued to take good care of Mr. LaValle at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars each year, but they have also continued to elect lawmakers and politicians who are either against the death penalty or refuse to be for it. In other words, New Yorkers appear to believe two seemingly-contradictory things: that it is inhumane to kill people–even if those people are violent criminals who have caused unimaginable suffering to other people, and that it is perfectly acceptable to kill children if their mere existence might cause some emotional distress or inconvenience to the mother (and what child does not?!). (more…)

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