On June 16, 2019, the feast day of the Holy Trinity (Pentecost), His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, officiated a Divine Liturgy at the Dormition Cathedral of the Holy Trinity – St. Sergius Lavra. At the end of the service, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church delivered a sermon.
“Your Eminences and Graces! Dear fathers, brothers and sisters!
I cordially greet you all with the great feast of the Holy Pentecost, the Day of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. This is a very special day. The Holy Spirit participated in the creation of the cosmos, all animate and inanimate creatures. The Holy Spirit was undoubtedly present in human history.
But what does this descent of the Holy Spirit on the fiftieth day after the Resurrection of the Savior mean? One can understand what really happened by pondering over the text of the Book of Acts (Acts 2:1-11), which tells us how the Holy Spirit descended upon each of the apostles in a visible way, like tongues of fire.
The descent of the Holy Spirit has an extremely special meaning. The Spirit was already present in the cosmos, in the creation of the world, and in human history. But through the death and Resurrection of the Lord and Savior, the Holy Ghost descended on each of the apostles, and through this descent, through this great church Sacrament of Anointment, the Holy Spirit descends on each person. We are all blessed with the power of God, because we have accepted the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit: nothing like this could have happened before the arrival of the Savior at the world, before His death, before His Resurrection, before the atonement for the original sin of the humankind.
St. Gregory the Theologian, reflecting on the Holy Spirit, said, “Through Him the Father is known and the Son is glorified”. Indeed, we can glorify Him by being witnesses of God’s great power revelead in the Descent of the Holy Spirit. We can get to know the Lord and Savior through the Holy Scriptures, through the words of the apostles. Each and everyone can personally experience the presence of the Lord in one’s life, and this experience of the Savior’s presence is accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
No human effort is capable of bringing us into contact with God, the Lord and Savior, but only the power of the Holy Spirit. This is why the apostle said that we are not strangers, but are of God’s household (Eph.2:19). But what does it mean? It means that we have the gift of the Holy Spirit and through this gift we are truly connected with God the Father and glorify the Son of God, through Whose death and Resurrection the grace of the Holy Spirit is revealed to us.
Holy Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. This Church is called to give people the gift of the Holy Ghost. This Church is called to proclaim God’s truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. This Church cannot be mistaken in its totality: not in individuals, who are even sometimes very well-known, but precisely as a whole it cannot be mistaken when it speaks in the voice of the Ecumenical Councils, because the Holy Ghost speaks and acts through it.
The Spirit of God is the Lord, today and forever, until the Second Coming, Who abides inseparably from humankind. And we, entering the Church, receiving the Sacrament of Baptism, imprinting ourselves with the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Anointment, enter into special contact with God. We become close to the Lord and He is close to us. And the only thing that can shake the connection between God and the redeemed humanity which He Himself established is our unrepentant sins. Therefore, the response to the gift of the Holy Spirit is our repentance, our prayer, and our faith.
Today is the day of unique optimism inspired by the event of the Holy Pentecost. Let us live with this bright feeling hoping that the grace of God will not leave us and the gift of the Holy Spirit will help us overcome the difficulties of earthly existence. Amen”.
Translated by pravmir.com