Митрополит Антоний Сурожский

About the love of Christ

September 9, 2002
Theme: Christ, Love, Current events   Place: London Parish   Period: 2001-2003   Genre: Sermon

I want shortly to say something about Christ’s commandment that we should love one another as He has loved us.

There is a simple way in which we love one another, a direct way when we naturally can do it without any effort, the way in which friends love each other because they have chosen one another, the way in which brothers and sisters may love one another because they belong together, the way in which parents love their children and vice versa. And even there there is a crack in our love because children who are loved by their parents may not love one another. And children who are loved by their parents may not love them. What is the matter then? What is this command of Christ? We are called to look at each other and to accept each other not because we are good, not because we are attractive, not because love blossoms out in our souls naturally. But because this person has been called into existence by God in an act of love, yes, but of dangerous love because the existence of this person, imperfect, at times filled with hatred, filled with resentments, is the cause of Christ’s incarnation.

If we could look at one another and say, “This person has provoked the incarnation of Christ because of all the lack of love that was in him or her,” what would we say? We would probably be horrified and yet we would be wrong. We would not have understood that this applies to us and not to this person. If we are incapable of receiving this person with compassion, with broken heart, we have not yet learnt, we have not yet learnt to love with Christ’s love. Let us look at each other in our natural surrounding, here and ask ourselves, “Do anyone of those who surround us mean anything to me? If they simply didn’t exist, if death took them away, if circumstances tore them away from us would it matter to us at all? I’m afraid we should be honest and say, it would not matter to us if many of the people with whom we are on friendly relations, companionable disappeared all together.

And this is so clear when we think of the names of those who have departed this life. How often I am told, “I can’t remember this person.” Is that a way in which we loved a companion in life?  We can’t even remember a name, a face? It is a person who passed through but did not exist and yet this is the person whom Christ called into being because He had needed this person for the fulfillment of this word of His and He has died, died on the Cross for this person to be saved.

And then I quoted a moment ago an example which is tragic, which hits me in the heart when I became aware of it – a priest who had been during the Civil war in Russia a combatant in the White Army who with all his life and heart hated communism and hated Stalin one day read in a newspaper that Stalin had died. His first moment was a sense of liberation. And then horror came upon him. He thought, “Stalin has died. He is now standing alone, rejected perhaps by millions of people whose life he has made into hell. He has died and he is alone.” And horror seized him, and he ran into the sanctuary and began to cry to God for mercy on this man, whom he had hated all his life because in the context of eternal damnation, of eternal estrangement from the love God, from the absolute, ultimate aloneness in the midst of people, he felt – no, he could not hate this man.

Let us think of the way in which we love one another, allegedly or really. Let us ask ourselves what Christ meant when He said, that we must learn to love one another as He has loved us. Amen.


The blessing of the Lord be upon you, by His Grace and Love towards mankind always now and forever and world without end…


The new school year is starting and therefore Fr. Michael will celebrate in the middle a moleben for all schools, all teachers, all pupils.


Начинается учебный год и поэтому о. Михаил отслужит сейчас посреди церкви молебен о том, чтобы Господь благословил Своей благодатью, Своей мудростью, Своим светом и преподающих, и учащихся, их семьи, детей и взрослых.



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