Yesterday, according to the Church’s calendar, we commemorated the Miracle of St. Archangel Michael at Chonae, which is the patron saint of the Diocese of Bachka in northern Serbia. In his homily on the eve of that day Bishop Porfirije of Jegar (quoted on this blog also here) spoke of the miracle commemorated on that day and its significance. He noted that oftentimes we expect miracles to occur to support our faith, that is, to almost give proof of our faith in God, when in reality it’s our faith which produces miracles and not the other way around. And he mentioned how he had recently met a woman who visited his monastery in Kovilj who told the monastics there how she had traveled from one monastery to another, far from her parish church, with her problems and troubles looking for wonderworkers and healers. And he said (note: translation is very loose):
“The miracle at Chonae reminds us that healing is in the church and there is no need for Christians to search for wonderworkers and healers outside of their parish. There, in the local church, in one’s own parish is the fullness of salvation and all gifts of the Holy Spirit are present there. And every form of healing is present there. Of course, when a parishioner comes to their parish priest the priest can send that person to go to another priest for counseling. And this all with the blessing of the bishop. Together with the parish priest the person can be sent to someone the parish priest considers to be more spiritually developed. But, again, not to expect that other spiritual father to solve their problems in a hocus-pocus, magical method. Everything that happens in our lives happens by God’s will, and this applies to our temptations and problems, and when we pray that we might defeat our temptations, for our spiritual well being, we always end our prayer with the words ‘may it be as the Lord wills for He knows better than we do what is good for us.’ And so on this day and on this feast let us pray that God grant unto us a a pure faith which above all means that we might place our trust in Him and His Church and those who have been appointed by the Church to concern themselves with our spiritual well being.”
See here for the audio of the homily in Serbian.