Our church was a place where people could find quiet and silence; not only the
silence of people who would not talk, but the deep silence of souls that were
standing face to face with God.
In the last year this has changed, and many people have told us - not only the
old members of the congregation, but people coming from Russia have told us how
disappointed they were at the change that had occurred here in the last couple
People come into the church, and instead of standing by the door and realizing
where they are - being there like the publican who felt he was unworthy of
entering the realm of God - they enter, buy candles and begin to walk about
irrespective of the moment of the Liturgy.
So, I not only make an appeal - I tell you with all the conviction and all the
authority vested in me, that this is inadmissible.
These people who come to church must come to meet the Lord God; and the moment
you are within these walls, you are in the place where two or three are gathered
in His Name and He is in their midst.
Unless you learn silence, unless you do not treat the church as a place where
you can move about looking at icons in a distracted way, you never enter into
communion with God; and in that case, there is no space for any one to come and
receive Communion out of emptiness of soul.
So, be aware of this. Take my words seriously. It is only if we learn to be
deeply silent in the presence of God, worshipfully silent, silent before the
greatness of the One who has died for us but Who has risen to give us His life,
that we can take part in the Liturgy, in the prayers, and also in Communion.
May God guide all of us, not only lay people, but priests, servers, all of us,
into that deep silence of the soul where we can commune with one another because
we are all in communion with the living God. Amen.