Митрополит Антоний Сурожский

Sermon. All Saints

June 6, 1999
Theme: Saints and Holiness   Place: London Parish   Period: 1996-2000   Genre: Sermon

We are keeping today the feast of All Saints. Each of us has been dedicated on the day of his baptism to one of those saints who have given their heart and mind, their will and life to God and have become on earth His witnesses. When we come into a church, we come when we are new to the experience of faith with such tremor in our hearts. It’s a place which is so holy where we have not yet been, and everything in it is for us an object of veneration – the icon, the services, the vestments of the priests, irrespective of who the priest is, – and we come and venerate this place. And in our time when God had been rejected, excluded from the life of the world to such tragic extent through persecution and through cold indifference the church has become not only in many countries but everywhere a place of refuge for God Himself. Rejected from the faith of our countries He can find a place here in every church which is dedicated to Him, where He has a right to be, where He is Lord and Master, which belongs to Him unreservedly. When we come to the church, let us enter it in this spirit.

But it is not only the material church which is a place of refuge for God or the place where all the glory and greatness of the Kingdom of God is present on earth. Everyone of us is a church in that sense, everyone of us has been brought to God and through baptism have become a part of the Body of Christ, the place where lives the Holy Spirit, a child of the Heavenly Father.

Do we see one another in this light? How life would be different if we could look at one another and look with a tremulous heart, look at one another as we look at a holy icon? Let us today, which is the day of All Saints, the day in which everyone of us keeps his namesday look at one another with new eyes and say, “I see here a temple of the Holy Spirit, I see here an extension of the Incarnation of Christ. We see here a place which has been dedicated to one of the saints who had been faithful to God in a way in which none of us has been”. And having looked at one another in this spirit, let us go away remembering this and look at everyone whom we meet on earth as God’s own, as a temple which we can, which we must venerate, protect, keep safe from anything that can bring impurity or wound it. Let us make a start by looking today at each other with new eyes and seeing in each other who we are – the temple of God, the presence of the Incarnation and at the same time a temple dedicated to one of those who heroically have given their lives to Christ. Amen.

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