Archive for the ‘Homilies’ Category

The greatest sin of Judas was that he had no anger against sin. The action of communion within us, with the exchange of attributes.

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

I think it is really important that you listen to this 11 minute homily.

SYNOPSIS:On Holy Thursday we simultaneously contemplate the sin of Judas and the institution of the Eucharist. There are two hymns from the matins canon that perfectly explain the greatest sin of Judas – it was not avarice, but to not be angry against sin. This is important to know, and apply to your life. Be angry in a godly way, and become godly. Many partake of communion without understanding why, or what it does. Another hymn from the canon perfectly explains this. We should know why we do things, and how we should do them. Learn from these two hymns the essence of Christianity.

Lacking all conscience, he received the Body that delivers men from sin and the divine Blood that was shed for the world. He was not ashamed to drink what he had sold for money, he felt no anger against sin, for he knew not how to cry, #39;O ye works of the Lord praise ye the and exalt Him above all for ever#39;.

Since I am man not merely in appearance but in reality, the human nature united to Me is made godlike through the exchange of attributes. Know Me, then, as one single Christ, who saves those among whom I have been born and whose nature I have taken.(Canon, Ode 8,9, Matins for Holy Thursday)



“Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” Only those whose heart is hot will escape deception.

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Great Monday Presanctified Gospel.

Overview of the Gospel on for Presanctified Liturgy on Great Monday, in which the Lord teaches about the state of the world, and His second coming, especially emphasizing the coldness of the hearts of modern man. Our reactions to this coldness and depravity? our hearts must be hot to compensate for the cold, or else we risk being deceived with all the rest. Also a story explains how to know if Christ is coming when someone “Here is Christ”

We hold up branches because “The Lord is at hand”, but will we live in such a way that we will “rejoice always”, and overcome the things in our life that are “four days dead”?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

We hold up branches because “The Lord is at hand”, but will we live in such a way that we will “rejoice always”, and overcome the things in our life that are “four days dead”?


Today is basically from my heart to yours, with a bit of incoherence and great love. The epistle today tells us the Lord is at hand, and we are standing with palms and pussy willows in our hands, emulating the children of Israel. A large portion of those who held palms when the Lord was at hand in the entry into Jerusalem later were complicit in His crucifixion, and a large portion of Orthodox who have not been in church for a great while hold palms on a great church holiday. How are we going to be different? The apostle also tells us to rejoice always – how doe this apply to the raising of Lazarus, which moist of you never hear in church, and the things in your life that are four days dead?



A review of the Great Monday Matins Gospel, with emphasis on a few spiritually edifying points.? – the fig tree teaches us to look at everything spiritually, the scribes who questioned Jesus show how empty and lifeless dishonesty is. We must be the first son. The cornerstone in the vineyard parable.


“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” How do we cultivate this mysterious belief?

Monday, March 31st, 2014

In the healing of the demoniac boy, context is important. The healing occurred immediately after the Transfiguration and the failure of the other disciples to cast out the demon. There is an important lesson for us. God is very near, even though we do not always (or even often) fell Him. Things can change in a moment. The Lord said to the man: “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” How do we cultivate this belief? It is a very mysterious and holy thing, and required our effort, but only by God’s great mercy will we have powerful, life changing belief.
If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

3 homilies: On The forty Martys, The Third sunday of Lent, and “Before Thy Cross”:

Monday, March 24th, 2014

What is “life”? You cannot understand the cross unless you understand life.

We cannot understand the cross, and the way of the cross unless we understand life. What is life? Most people do not know the answer to this simple question or understand why the way of the cross is the only way to have life, or understand what is meant when we are told to “lose our life”, or that everything in our life is an exchange – with life or death.

Sunday of the Cross. Mark 8:34-9:1. 2014-03-23

What should we feel when we prostate during “Before Thy Cross…”

We must learn how to feel the troparion “Before Thy Cross, we bow down in worship” as we are prostrating before the cross. this is a moment in the church year that we cannot miss, when our body and soul pray as one, and the mystery of life is explained to us in words that cannot be uttered.

The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste are a fantastic example of patience. This year, their feast was on the 3rd Saturday of Great Lent, which has an epistle the says in part “For ye have need of patience.” Such simple words, and so true for each of us! Let us see how their martyrdom exemplifies patience. Depending on God with patience will always turn out well. We also explain why the Gospel of the workers of the vineyard is read for their feast.

A feastday for all us Samaritans. Do you hear the conversation? Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, John 4:5-42

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

the Woman at the Well

Synopsis: The conversation and conversion of the Samaritan woman by the well, recorded only in John, is the conversation of Christ with the soul. This is good news for us, as the future Equal to the Apostles Photini (Svetlana) was not a good woman – she had many sins – and we are not good either, however, she listened to the Lord, even as He sternly corrected her false beliefs and immoral lifestyle. The same conversation is happening to us, every day. Are you listening? Do you know how to listen? St Photini teaches us.


More homilies on the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman are HERE

John 4:5-42 5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. 31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his own word; 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

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“Having become bold” What made Joseph, Nicodemus and the Myrrh‑Bearers bold? Myrrh‑Bearing Women Mark 15:43‑16:8 2012

Monday, May 20th, 2013


Myryhhbearers with the Angel at the empty tomb. the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


Christ is risen! Truly He is risen! Hristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!


I want to tell you, before I begin, about some people that I want you to remember during the Liturgy. There is an especially important time, right after the Epiklesis, the calling down of the Holy Spirit[1], when we are to pray for those we especially care for or that have special needs. We also of course commemorate sometimes people that have special needs in the entrance, in the Great Entrance ‑‑ which will be coming up soon ‑‑ and also of course we have the custom of praying from a list, a public list, of people for just their general needs, travelers and among the sick.


Now, among the sick that I want you to remember, I want you to do this after the Epiklesis, now, because this is a holy responsibility of everyone. It is not only the responsibility of the clergy, absolutely not! Everyone should pour their heart out to God during the Divine Liturgy. And this time after the Epiklesis, is the time especially to pray with your heart for God.


[Several people and their needs were mentioned] Try to remember those names, and as a sacred trust during the Epiklesis pray for those people. It's very, very important. We are not passive in Liturgy. It's part of the reason why we stand and part of the reason why pews are such a terrible thing: Because they encourage passivity. You are participants in the Liturgy. The Liturgy means "the work of the people". It's not the work of Father Nicholas and myself. It's the work of the people. So pray for those people, okay? And you will hear them in the entrance and also hear them in the list of people that we pray for in the fervent Ektenia.


Joseph and Nicodemus take Jesus off the cross. Among the most important words in today's Gospel that are truly amazing, that are too big to talk about or understand, are when it says that Joseph become bold. Remember, our Lord had just been crucified. The Jews were looking to kill everybody that was associated with Him. People were in terror. Everybody had run away. But Joseph became bold. This is a marvelous thing. It was dangerous to go and ask for the body of Jesus, who was a known felon, a criminal, a heretic. Boldness doesn't care about danger.


You know what boldness cares about? It is only one thing. True Christian boldness is based on one virtue. Love. Where there is love there is not fear. Now, I don't mean that you won't have emotional fear, but you won't be paralyzed with your fear.


Absolutely, Joseph was frightened when he did this, but he knew he had to do it. His heart told him he had to do it, and so he became bold and did it, and he went in to crave the body of Jesus and got it, and Nicodemus helped; St. John adds that detail. And they worked very quickly in order to be able to put Him in the grave in order to still abide by the Jewish Sabbath which was fast approaching.


This kind of boldness is what you and I need, brothers and sisters. It's the same boldness that the Myrrh‑Bearing Women had because they also were doing something extremely dangerous, and not only this; but they didn't even have any idea how they were going to accomplish it. There was a gigantic stone that had to be rolled with many men using a fulcrum to be able to get it in front of the tomb, and now the tomb was guarded by the best of the best, the centurions, hard men who wouldn't hesitate to kill someone. They weren't going to help roll away the stone.


They had no idea how they were going to accomplish their task, but they were bold. They had been frightened before but then they were bold. Where there is the love of God, perfect love casteth out fear. We have to aim to have this kind of love, brothers and sisters, and this kind of boldness.


We are now in an era where there are a lot of micro persecutions. There will be major ones soon enough. But there are micro persecutions now. Perhaps your management is coercing you to give to the United Way. The United Way gives to a lot of things that are completely un‑Christian. You hear people talk about different kinds of immorality and perhaps you feel afraid to say what you really feel.


I have noticed that there are Christians now, Orthodox Christians that are changing their opinions about things that God has always spoken of, because they're afraid. They see that most other people don't have this opinion; it seems like most of the world doesn't have this opinion.


You must beg the Lord to help you be bold. But this boldness comes from love, an all‑consuming love for the Lord. We must have this boldness.


Now, an interesting thing, a very important thing about the boldness of Joseph and Nicodemus and the Myrrh‑Bearing Women, is that what they were doing was because of a misunderstanding. Our Lord said He would rise again. He had made it very clear. In retrospect, they understood that it was clear. So what need would they have to anoint the body? None. Our hymns even say that: "Why do you seek for the living among the dead?". He is alive. But they thought He was dead. But their love for Him made them bold even though only shortly before they had been terrified and they didn't get it right. The Myrrh‑Bearers were going on an errand for someone Who was not there. But they didn't know that. And so with what they knew, with their feeble understanding, they acted out of love.


And if you act out of love, God will always make a good come out of it. Always, without fail. You might not see the good. There might be bad things that happen to you. But always, always God's Word will not fail to return back to Him. And the love that we give to God will always be good, always cause our Lord to work in some merciful and unseen way that will be for our salvation and the salvation of others. Every time, without exception.


So the fact that the Myrrh‑Bearers were doing something that showed that they did not understand what the Lord had been talking about for the past three years, is not important. And you must apply this to your life. I have learned now, being a priest for so many years, there's so much ignorance. Oftentimes I feel like I don't know anything and yet I do. Based upon whatever knowledge I have and the small amount of love that I have for God, I do. And then I see things happen that are completely unrelated to what I thought was going to happen.


It should be that way with you, too. Ignorance is no excuse. You still have to act on what you know with boldness. Don't be afraid. Act on what you know because of love for God. You will have many opportunities, today, tomorrow, the rest of your life, always to act with boldness and love for God. And your ignorance God will enlighten. But only those who love God will He enlighten. So we must follow the example of these Myrrh‑Bearers and of Joseph and Nicodemus and be bold.


Now, boldness comes out of a deep longing to be with God, a deep love for Him. You don't have to be smart. You don't have to be theologically astute, but you do have to desire to know the things of God. I would say it's not possible to be bold if we don't cultivate our love for God through our prayer, through fasting, through reading of holy things, through the Services. Otherwise, our hearts are cold. We might know a few things. But we will be making compromises in our lives and we won't even realize that. Many times. Or when we do realize, then we will have dug ourselves a hole; we will be afraid to speak the truth at that point.


Cultivate your love for God, and realize that you are a soldier; you're called to service. The Scripture says the Kingdom of Heaven is being won by violence. That violence is our boldness to do what is right because of love for God, no matter what the consequences.


So let us follow the example of these Myrrh‑Bearers, of Joseph and Nicodemus who acted in boldness. That boldness was given to them by God. They didn't possess it on their own. It was given to them because of their love for Him, not because of their knowledge, because they were wrong; they were administering to a dead man and He wasn't dead.


Let us be like these holy saints. Cultivate your love for God, brothers and sisters, and look for opportunities to be bold. And when you're not bold, when you're afraid to make the Sign of the Cross in front of a bunch of people you don't know or your family or at your business meeting, or when you're afraid to speak out when people are saying things that are wrong, or when you do not feel moral authority because of your own sins, force yourself to be bold. This latter obstacle is probably the major source where we are not bold, where we need to correct someone whom we love, but we look at ourselves and we think I'm such a terrible person, I have no right at all, no strength to be able to talk to this person. That's not humility acting. That's cowardice. You have no right to not do something good because you think you are bad!


If you have boldness before God, it is because of love for God and even in the midst of knowing your sins, God will tell you, call your name; and you must be like Samuel and say, "Here am I." Then, no matter what it is, do it. There's many things all of us need to do. But it starts with loving God, and the love for God will wash away our ignorance and our timidity. May God grant it. Amen.


Transcribed by Helen, May the Lord save her and her loved ones.


Priest Seraphim Holland 2012


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[1] The Epiclesis occurs during the Anaphora, which is the time when the gifts of bread and wine are offered up, and the celebrant begs the Holy Spirit to transform them into the body and blood of Christ. The Greek word "Epiclesis" means "invocation" or "calling down from on high", and is the part of the Liturgy that occurs when the people are singing slowly: "We praise thee, we bless thee, we give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, and we pray unto Thee, O our God".


You can know that it has ended when a hymn to the Theotokos is sung. Here is an edited transcript of what occurs in the liturgy during this time:


The Priest says aloud:


Take, eat: this is my Body which is broken for you, for the remission of sins.




Drink of it, all of you: this is My Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins.




Thine own of Thine own we offer unto Thee, in behalf of all, and for all.


At this point in the liturgy is another good time to offer up your secret prayers for the people that matter the most to you. This is been suggested by certain modern fathers, and it is good advice. I always pause for a moment and remember the people that are on my heart at this time as well as at the end.


The people are singing:


We praise thee, we bless thee, we give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, and we pray unto Thee, O our God.


During this time the priest is invoking the Holy Spirit and begging that He change the gifts offered, the bread and wine, into the body and blood of Christ.


At the end, the priest exclaims aloud:


Especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.


At this time, in most liturgies served during the year, the following hymn is sung:


It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most blameless, and mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word, the Very Theotokos: thee do we magnify.


This is the time referred to in this homily, a holy time to put forth your most deep desires to the Lord. It is good to have a list if you have trouble remembering, and pray simply, and forcefully: "Lord have mercy on ____". This is a holy moment; DON'T miss it!



Thomas is just like us in at least one way; it must be in two ways if we are to be saved.

Monday, May 13th, 2013

St Thomas Sunday IconLISTEN NOW

Synopsis: The Apostle Thomas is a perfect example of how we are, deep inside. We have doubts, problems, unresolved issues. We must follow his example to resolve all these problems. We also talk about the closing of the doors in the altar on Bright Saturday night, and what it means. It is VERY related to the story of Thomas, which must become our story if we are to be saved.

More homilies on the Thomas Sunday are HERE

John 20:19-31 19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

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“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.quot; The Last Judgment story teaches us we are eternal beings & everything we do must be eternal.

Sunday, March 10th, 2013


SYNOPSIS: Are you a glass half full or half empty person? How do you look at the Last Judgment story in Matthew 25:31-46? Many people concentrate on the condemnation of those who go to Hell, but the story actually emphasizes that we are eternal beings ("Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"), and therefore every thing we do and every work of mercy must be eternal. It teaches us how to accomplish this: "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me"

Matthew 25:31-46 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

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The healing of the woman with a spirit of infirmity 18 years teaches us that love is the highest law and HOW to love + 7 homilies on Psalm 118

Monday, December 10th, 2012


Synopsis: The healing of the woman with a spirit of infirmity of 18 years warns us to not be formal in our religion. Love is the highest law; we can only obey this law if we understand something critically important about ourselves. This healing teaches us both of these things.

More homilies on the 27th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Luke 13:10-17 10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. 15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? 17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

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Commentary on Psalm 118, verse by verse

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