митрополит Антоний Су́рожский (Блум)

All Saints Day. Diocesan Liturgy. Ordination of Kenneth and Richard

2 June 1991

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

There is a passage in the writings of Saint Paul who says, that when one member of the body rejoices all the body is in joy. Today something has happened which is not only part of the eternal destiny of Kenneth, of Christina, of their children, of Richard and Sally, but something that (?) on the whole Living Body, the Church of God, the Body of Christ. It was granted by the grace of God to Richard to become a subdeacon; he was called upon to read deeply, indeed to (drink) deeply from the well of Life, the Holy Scriptures, so to be filled of the Spirit that that inspires them, as he can read them aloud to others; but more than this: to be not only the witness, but to be himself the message. And this applies also, to a greater measure to Kenneth. Richard will be called upon to read passages from the Old Testament and the writings of the Apostles; he will be the messenger of those whom Christ has send into the world. Like St John the Baptist he is called to prepare the way of the Lord, as the preaching of the Apostles prepared people for the discovery of Christ Himself, for the meeting face to face not to the flesh, but deeper, deeper than any (?) at the very core of their being; with Him Who is the Truth, and Who is Life, and Who is the Way.

Kenneth by the grace of God will have to read aloud to us all the Holy Gospel the very words of Christ. He will have the privilege to pronounce words that are holy in themselves, words that according to St Peter, when he was asked, 'Shall you also depart from Me?’ answered, 'Where should we go? You have the words of eternal life...’ – not words that describe it, but words which (touch) at the very heart of hearts of those who hear and make them partake to things eternal, ultimately, commune with God, and, at the (heart?) of this communion become partakers of the Divine nature. We must all pray for him, pray for them, pray for their wives and family.

Because Kenneth has crossed today the threshold which is truly awe-inspiring. The nave in the church represents the world into which Christ has come, God has come in the flesh to proclaim the truth, to grant life, to be the Way; and the Sanctuary is more than an image of the place where God dwells: it is from there that the Gospel is brought out; it is from there that the Holy Gifts are brought for Consecration. It is the Realm of God into which we should enter with awe, into which indeed no-one has a right to enter, unless he be called to do so to perform a holy and sacred action.

And between the two there is that threshold, invisible: the open Holy Door. Only Christ, by right, can cross this threshold: and he, Kenneth, has been called to follow Him from earth into things eternal. But not alone; because the ordination of a man does not single him out from the rest of mankind; one can legitimately say that a deacon or a priest remains a layman, that is a member of the Body of Christ endowed with Sacred Orders. Together with his ordination his family has been sanctified, in a way imperceptible, invisible and real.

And together with him, whenever he will enter the Sanctuary, all of you, and all of us, the people of God, will be brought into the Sanctuary. He is the first fruit of this body of believers, he is one who is sent, in advance of all of us, to stand by the Throne of the Living God.

And this is why, when he comes out and stands before the Holy Doors, it is he who directs our prayer to God, it is he who proclaims the litanies because he is one of us. But also, all the lay people are as it were incarnate, are exemplary present in the Sanctuary by his presence. One more man has brought us to the depth of this mystery of the Kingdom. What the Kingdom is, both Richard and Kenneth already knew in their marriage; it is not in vain that in an old manuscript of the Gospel there is a passage saying, ‘They asked Christ, When shall the Kingdom of God come? And His answer was, The Kingdom has already come when (where (?) two are not longer two but one’... And so, coming into the sanctuary brings together the plenitude of their family, brings all those whom they unite around themselves through love.

Let us pray for them all, that the grace of God may fill them, that they may be to us all beacons of light, that they may proclaim God’s own word, in such a way that it may reach us, tear and destroy all darkness; and that the blessing of God be with them day in day out so that they grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ and reveal to us in their persons, in their lives what they will have proclaimed in their words, in Christ's words, the words of the Apostles, in the words of the Living God.


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