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The Sunday of Orthodoxy - Archbishop Averky

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    The Sunday of Orthodoxy, The First Sunday Of Great Lent Sermon by Archbishop Averky This is the Apostolic faith, this is the faith of the Fathers, this is the
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 29, 2004
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      The Sunday of Orthodoxy,

      The First Sunday Of Great Lent

      Sermon by Archbishop Averky

      "This is the Apostolic faith, this is the faith of the Fathers, this is the
      Orthodox faith "

      Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, you will hear these solemn and
      significant words in the Rite of Orthodoxy which the Holy Church has
      established to be served on this day. The first week of Holy and Great Lent
      has ended a week of intensified prayer and ascetical repentance. Now the
      Holy Church, desiring to encourage and console us, has established for us
      in this first week of Great Lent, on its first Sunday, a spiritual
      celebration, one most dear and close to our hearts - The Triumph of
      Orthodoxy.

      This celebration was first performed in 842 in Constantinople in the
      presence of the Blessed Empress Theodora by His Holiness Patriarch
      Methodius in memory of the overthrow of the last terrible heresy to shake
      Christ's Church, the heresy of iconoclasm. But in this celebration the Holy
      Church marks the triumph of the holy Orthodox faith in general, her victory
      over all impious heresies, false teachings and schisms.

      Our Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour founded His Church on earth so that all
      belonging to her could be saved, could elude the nets of the devil and
      enter into the Heavenly Kingdom prepared for them.

      The devil exerted all his strength to overthrow and destroy the Church of
      Christ and, through this, to hinder the salvation of men, At first he
      raised up terrible persecutions against the Church on the part of the Jews
      and pagans. For almost three centuries the blood of Christian martyrs
      flowed without ceasing. But the devil did not succeed in his task. The
      blood of the martyrs, according to the apt statement of the Christian
      apologist Tertullian, became the seeds of Christians. Christianity
      triumphed over its persecutors. The meek lambs of Christ's flock
      transformed the wolf-like rage of their persecutors into lamb-like
      meekness.

      But the devil did not resist after the defeat he suffered at the hands of
      the martyrs .When the Church of Christ triumphed in the world he raised up
      a new, even more dangerous persecution against her: from within the Church,
      as the Holy Apostle Paul had foretold in his conversation with the Ephesian
      presbyters: "men arose speaking perverse things". Paul called such men
      grievous wolves. [Acts 20:29,30]. These were so-called heretics who tried
      to pervert the true teaching of Christ concerning faith and piety in order
      to make this teaching ineffective for men.

      When this happened, the Holy Church, in the person of its best servants,
      took up arms against these heretics in order to defend its true,
      undistorted teaching. There began to be convoked first local and then
      ecumenical councils. Bishops came together from all the corners of the
      earth and through the Holy Spirit they gave voice to the pure and
      undistorted Truth, following the example of the First Apostolic Council of
      Jerusalem [Acts 15:6-29]. They also cut off heretics from the Church and
      anathematized them.

      This was in according with the clear commandment of Our Lord Jesus Christ
      Himself who said, If he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as
      a heathen man and a publican. [Matthew 18:17]. And in accordance with the
      commandment of the Holy Apostle Paul, that great apostle to the nations who
      said, But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto
      you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed
      [Galatians 1:8]. And in another place he states: If any man love not the
      Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema. Maranatha [I Cor. 16:22].

      Thus our moving, majestic and solemn Rite of ORTHOD0XY takes its beginning
      from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and from his great Apostle, called by
      Him to be the apostle to the nations, i.e. of the whole pagan world.

      From the ninth century on the Holy Church has established that this rite
      should be served on the first Sunday of Holy Great Lent and that it be
      named Orthodox Sunday. The rite, brothers and sisters, is particularly
      important and significant in the evil times we are experiencing, times in
      which the Orthodox : faith is wavering and shaking.

      This wavering and shaking of the Orthodox faith is due to those very
      persons who ought to be strengthening and supporting it in the souls of the
      faithful. Those who should be pillars of Holy Orthodoxy high ranking
      hierarchs including the heads of certain Local Churches are departing from
      the Truth of H0LY ORTHODOXY. It is terrible to have to say that even the
      head of the Constantinopolitan Church, which is known as the Ecumenical
      Church, the man considered to be the first hierarch of all ORTHODOXY, has
      set out this path! On all of this there undoubtedly lies the print of the
      Apostasy about which the Holy Apostle Paul foretold [II Thess. 2:3]the
      apostasy of Christians from Christ.

      We are now face to face with this Apostasy.The major threat to true
      Christian faith, the Orthodox faith, is the so called "Ecumenical
      Movement", headed by what is known as the "World Council of Churches", a
      body which denies the doctrine of the unity and infallibility of the True
      Church of Christ and attempts to create from all the presently existing and
      distorted the faith, a new false Church which, from our point of view, will
      without any doubt be the Church of Antichrist, that false church which the
      Antichrist, whose coming is now being rapidly prepared in the world, will
      head.

      From the teaching of the Word of God and the Holy Fathers of the Church we
      know that the Antichrist will be both the religious and political leader of
      all humanity: he will stand at the head of a new universal false church
      which the Antichrist, whose coming is now being rapidly prepared in the
      world, will head. From the teaching of the Word of God and the Holy Fathers
      of the Church, we know that the Antichrist will be both the religious and
      political leader of all humanity: he will stand at the head of the new
      universal false Church; he will also be the director of one new world
      government and will attempt to submit all to his absolute power.

      The Orthodox faith " this is the faith of the Apostles, the faith of the
      Fathers, it is that faith which the Apostolic Fathers, the direct disciples
      of the Holy Apostles, and the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church and
      their lawful successors, established by the Holy Spirit, interpreted for us
      in their marvellous and inspired writings.

      Brothers and sisters, we must hold this faith steadfastly if we desire
      eternal salvation!

      Now we shall perform with you this deeply instructive, moving and highly
      solemn rite which consists of two parts: the first part is the prayer of
      the Holy Church for all those who have gone astray or fallen away from the
      true Orthodox faith; in the second part the Holy Church pronounces dread
      anathema against all false teachers, heretics and schismatics who have
      grown stubborn in their malice and who do not wish to reunite with the true
      Church of Christ but instead struggle against her.

      Then we shall sing Eternal Memory for all departed defenders of Holy
      Orthodoxy and Many Years for those defenders of the Holy Orthodox faith and
      Church who are still among the living.

      Amen.

      Sunday Of Orthodoxy 1971
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