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Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Ma…

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Matins with the Burial Service of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Communications Service of the DECR, 23.04.2022.

In the evening of 22nd April 2022 on the eve of Great and Holy Saturday, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate the metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion celebrated matins with the burial service of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Moscow Church of Our Lady of the Joy of All-Afflicted on Bolshaya Ordynka Street.

At the conclusion of the Great Doxology the bishop headed the procession of the cross with the burial-shroud around the church.

Then before the burial-shroud there were read aloud the prophecy of the resurrection from the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37. 1-14), the passage from Saint Paul on Christ’s redemptive sacrifice (1 Cor 6. 7-8) and after that metropolitan Hilarion read the Gospel passage on the sealing of the tomb of the Lord and the appointment of guards to it (Mt 27. 62-66).

At the end of the service the bishop delivered this sermon:

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We have just heard the words of the apostle Paul: ‘A little leaven leavens the whole lump?’ (1 Cor 5.6-7). These words reveal the mystery of the Christian faith because for Christians to become the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the leaven which leavens the whole lump, the Lord Jesus Christ established the Church on this earth and brought us to it so that we may live among ordinary people, each one of us doing what he is called to do, while being the leaven in the dough.

For this we are called to draw strength from Christ himself. We are called to read the holy Gospel, to go to Church services and to not only grasp the meaning of the Gospel text, to listen attentively to them and contemplate them, but also so that we may embody in our lives that which the Lord has commanded us to do.

Every time when the family gathers around the grave of the deceased, and especially if it is the head of the family, if the person was famous and achieved much in life, they listen above all to his testament, and each of them thinks of how to continue his life’s work.

When we stand by the tomb of the Saviour, then we hear his testament, the words conveyed to us by the gospel writers. The Saviour’s testament are his teachings and parables, and that which he has left for us as a means of knowing how to act.

But the Lord came to earth not only to teach us but above all to give his life for us. Christ gave his life in order to redeem us from sin, to open up the path to life everlasting, and so that not through our own efforts we may fulfill what he has commanded us but that we may draw this strength from him, turn to him in prayer, that we may partake of his body and blood, so that our hands become his hands, our lips become his lips, and through us that he may continue his saving mission on earth.

As we venerate the Life-Giving Tomb of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, let us recall how he brought us into his Holy Church. Let us entreat him so that he may grant us to be true Christians who not only in word but in deed embody in our lives the teaching of our Lord and Saviour.

Let us entreat that we may greet the feast of Holy Pascha with spiritual joy. So that the path to the kingdom of heaven, which the Lord Jesus Christ has revealed to us, is too for each and every one of us the path to resurrection and eternal life. Amen.”

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