Dear brothers and sisters, Metropolitan Sergiy of Singapore and Southeast Asia led the Divine Liturgy at our parish today in anticipation of the celebration of the Nativity of Christ the following evening. Hieromonk Pitirim (Dondenko), Igumen Pavel (Khokhlov), Priest Seraphim (Choi) and Hierodeacon Yuvenaliy served together with Metropolitan Sergiy.
During the service, the Metropolitan blessed John, a singer from our parish choir, to wear a cassock.
At the end of the Liturgy, in his sermon, Vladyka reminded all of us what it means to be a Christian. A Christian is not one who attends church, keeps prayer rules and all the fasts. A Christian is one who keeps the commandments of the Gospels and imitates Christ, becoming like Christ in the same way a son resembles his father. Fasting, prayer rules, and reading the Scriptures are important as means that help us draw nearer to God, but they are not the goal. Union with Christ in Communion is the pinnacle of our life in the Church, but this pyramid has an important foundation. The Lord will not ask us if we fasted or not, or how long have we prayed. He will ask if we have fed the hungry, if we have given water to the thirsty, and if we have visited the sick and those in prison. Works of mercy and love for our neighbour are the foundation upon which our Christian life is being built.
After the service, the parishioners and guests had lunch together, during which Metropolitan Sergiy received a fruit basket as a gift from the parishioners. Also, during the meal, the singers performed Christmas carols in Russian and Ukrainian.
The total number of parishioners and guests was about 80 people, of which 39 received the Holy Communion.
We thank everyone who came to the Liturgy today, especially those who brought food and drinks for the lunch. See you tomorrow at the Nativity service!