Great Saturday: Near the Sepulchre of the Son of God and the Son of Man

Brothers, many of us have probably stood near the grave of a beloved one, a relative or a close one. What does one feel at this time? Above all, this person feels “what” their dear departed was for them. While this person realizes the answer to this “what”, a sense of heavy loss hits them.

Today we are standing before the Holy Sepulchre.

Brother Christian, think, too, what the Lord is for you in your life.

What does your conscience tell you near this Sepulchre now?

Your Savior came to earth in a mysterious and ineffable way in order to make you the son of true and absolute happiness. He taught, suffered and died for you. He left you His Gospel. His commandments “are not grievous”. They reveal a true life. “Life lives” in them. One does not have to be wise or a scientist in order to understand the Gospel. One should have a pure heart, a heart directed to God, putting one’s hope for one’s salvation in Him.

But what are we doing? Has it ever crossed our mind to make the Gospel a cornerstone in our lives, behaviors, and our relationships? We always have our own human reasoning. The Lord is far from us, because we ourselves are far from Him and often do not even want to get closer to Him.

Even in such situation of spiritual coolness, how dreadful and horrible it is to imagine life without God, His truth, His holy things, and His beauty…

This is what we should feel standing before the Holy Sepulchre… No matter how our paths are diverged from God’s paths, we always have an opportunity to return to Our Father, if God’s Image lives in us and has not disappeared completely from our hearts.

Come to this Sepulchre with everything that you feel in your heart. Utter a prayer before the Lord, share you sorrows with Him, and most importantly, try to feel what the Lord is for you in your life.

If He lives in your heart, you will love Him even more and you will give Him even more of your heart. Perhaps, standing before the Holy Sepulchre will revive you, if you feel dismay and spiritual coolness.

In any case, remember one thing: it is an act of your free choice to accept or refuse God’s love which shines at you from the Holy Sepulchre.

Bishop Methodius of Campagne-les-Hesdin (Vladimir Nikolaevich Kulman in the world) was born on July 12 (25), 1902 into the family of a famous professor of Slavonic studies. He graduated from a high school in St. Petersburg, later he emigrated to Bulgaria with his parents (1920-1922), then to Prague, where he graduated from the Department of History and Philology at a Prague university in 1926. In 1931 he graduated from St. Sergius’ Theological Institute in Paris. He received the tonsure in 1930, entered the priesthood in 1931. In 1932 he became rector of Christ the Savior Church in Anieres. In 1953 he became Bishop of Campagne-les-Hesdin. In 1948 he founded a monthly magazine called “Eternal”, which introduced thousands of readers to the treasury of Orthodox spiritual thoughts. 

In 1952 Archimandrite Methodius organized a Russian Orthodox pilgrimage to the Holy Land in Paris and presided over it. It was the first pilgrimage since 1914. 18 pilgrimages took place under his guidance for twenty years since 1914, i.e. until 1972. 

Bishop Methodius passed away on Great Saturday on April 13, 1974 several hours before the beginning of Paschal divine service and was buried in the crypt of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos Church in Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois.

Translated from the Russian by Maria Trushanina

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