Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky)

(An abridged version of a sermon on the Lesser Consecration of the newly constructed lower part of our church, on Saturday, March 23/April 5, 1958.)

(…) Only here, in God’s church, can we unshakably convince ourselves that common resurrection awaits us. All of the billions of people who have lived and whose it will be to live on this earth and taste death, will arise for eternal life – so teaches us the Holy Church, in direct contradiction to the false wisdom of this world, which lives only the superficial life of the age of mortality, failing to think of the age of immortality.

But it is even more surprising that not only does the world not consider death, which lords over it, but even teaches its unfortunate prisoners lies. The vast majority of people who live in the world live as though they will never die. Despite the self-evident truth that death will inevitably end every man’s life, people are instead taught to live as though there is no death, and when it inevitably comes, they respond to it as to an uninvited and terrible guest. And only the Holy Church teaches Her children how to prepare for death, how to live in order not to fear it; in the words of St. Chrysostom, which we hear here on the Paschal night: “Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free.”

So the Holy Church is the true Teacher of life – She teaches Her children how rightly to live life and how rightly to die. In this grace-filled School of life the Teacher is Christ Himself, Who invisibly abides in His Church and, through His Apostles and Saints and through the very life of the Church, teaches the world His teaching: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).

But not only are lessons on life taught in the Church. In Christ’s Church we are given mystical spiritual gifts, which heal our ailing souls and bodies and make us capable of receiving these life’s teachings. Our souls, captivated by sins, constantly whirling about in this world that lies in sin, are in need of means of healing, and these means are given to us here in the Holy Mysteries, in prayers, in the recollections and descriptions of the sacred events of our salvation, in communion with the spirit of God’s holy saints, in the keeping of God’s commandments, which defend our soul and body from the world’s evil.


Finally, the Holy Church opens for us the mystical curtain which divides earth from heaven. With her experience She leads us to the threshold of paradise, prepared before the creation of the world for all those who love the Lord and please Him in their earthly lives. In hours of prayer, in days of great feasts, and especially on the day of Christ’s Glorious Resurrection, heaven mystically opens to us, and a ray of light shines into the softened hearts of each one according to our faith: for the holy God-pleasers, who have obtained spiritual experience – to a higher degree; for us, sinners – to a lesser degree; but every believer and everyone who repents of his sins, which divide us from God, can obtain here those spiritual gifts, and the blessings invariably bound to them. Christ’s Church is a new, grace-filled life on earth.

 (...) In short, Christ’s Church has an all-encompassing significance: the Light of Christ illumineth all.




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  • 4001 17th St. N.W.,
  • Washington, D.C., 20011

Phone  (202) 726-3000




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