What to Preach

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Above: During my first liturgy at St. George’s in Hermitage, November 2003

Taken from Experiences During the Divine Liturgy, Protopresbyter Stephanos K. Anagnostopoulos

Following the readings from the Epistle and Gospel during the Divine Liturgy, preaching the Word follows.

[Taken from the book mentioned above]

Up to today’s poor and scant study that I have done on the Fathers, I have observed that the preaching should be one of repentance. When following His Resurrection Jesus Christ sent His Disciples to all the nations, He didn’t merely tell them to preach, but what to preach: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.” And the Apostle Paul preached “repent and turn to God”. Therefore, he preaching of the Church, the Gospel of Christ, is repentance and the return of people to God.

Repentance is related to the great privilege and endowment that is recommended by the Gospel and is provided by the Church: the remission of sins! No matter what the times and needs are which pressure nations and their people, particularly Christians, I think and personally believe that the preaching of the Church must be preached of repentance and return of all people to God’s will.

….

The Church, according to Apostle Paul, was not ordered to preach philosophical theories and social ideologies, but received “grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith.” He went out to the world to preach repentance and return, with obedience to the will of God, not for people to start discussing, quarreling, fighting, and killing each other. Not for them to split, as it has been happening for two thousand years now with the heresies and delusions, but also in order for them to obey the Sacred Canons and the decisions of the seven Ecumenical Synods, so that everyone would repent and believe.

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One thought on “What to Preach

  1. This post is challenging. We are used to expecting that the priest or deacon will preach ‘on the gospel’ or on ‘the epistle’ or on both. Yet, in practice, sometimes they preach on neither, but on the saint of the day (a valid diversion, possibly), or on a topic of their own choosing (often not valid). But to preach ‘repentance’ at every liturgy, well, that is a challenge. I am not sure that what we call preaching (as in a church service) and what Christ calls preaching are quite the same thing. The Church placed, or gave room for, a homily (from the Greek word for ‘to speak’) after the reading of the scriptures, so the laity might be instructed as to the meaning and application of what was read. But the preaching that Christ enjoins is, I think, more related to what the bishops do, or should be doing. There are ‘good’ bishops and there are ‘bad’ (forgive me for saying this, but in my small experience I believe it is true; by ‘bad’ I do not mean ‘evil,’ only ‘not doing their job’) and a good bishop, like Anthony of San Francisco (memory eternal), whenever he visited my parish would always speak to us with such love, tenderness and genuine humility, even taking up into his talk the readings of the day, that we were ushered into repentance, personal and corporate, and many eyes flowed with tears, and the aftermath of his visitations was a bright time, full of kindness and increased effort to holy living. As successors to the holy apostles, may all bishops remember their real ‘job’ and give back all their administrative duties to others better suited and validly free for such tasks. Glory to God.

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