On May 17, 2020, the fifth Sunday of Pascha, Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, officiated the Divine Liturgy at the church dedicated to the “Joy of All Who Sorrow” Icon of the Mother of God in Moscow.
During the service, prayers were offered in connection with the threat of the spread of the coronavirus infection.
At the end of the service, Metropolitan Hilarion delivered a sermon, in which he said in particular:
“Christ is Risen!
Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to heartily congratulate all of you on Pascha, which continues for us.”
“Very often we ask God questions, and it seems to us that the Lord either does not answer us at all, or does not answer the way we expect it from Him. Often it seems to us that we ask God for one thing, and He sends another. And often we, communicating with God, do not understand what He wants to tell us.
During these Paschal days, when we live in very special conditions and many of us are deprived of the opportunity to come to the church, to partake of the Holy Mysteries of Christ, we ask God, “Lord! What do you want to tell us with all of this? ” Undoubtedly, God wants to tell us something: He would not have allowed it for us to be left without a church, without the Eucharist, if He did not want to tell us something through it.
The Lord wants to say something to each of us. Let each of us now ask ourselves: what happened in my life that caused that I am now deprived of the church of God, of Holy Communion, of an opportunity to attend the Liturgy and to pray with my friends and relatives?
Perhaps, through this trial, the Lord reminds someone of the fragility of human life, and that our life depends on God. The Lord says, “Do not rely on your strength, do not think that you will be fine without My help. Turn to Me more often, ask Me, and even if it seems to you that I will not answer, I will always come to your aid.”
If we listen to what the Lord tells us through these difficult, mournful, complex and extraordinary circumstances of our lives, each of us will certainly hear His answer.
Therefore, let us patiently wait for the opportunities to open up — and I hope that they will open up soon — for us to get together again at the church, to pray together and to partake of the Holy Mysteries of Christ.”
“Let us pray for those who are now suffering from the disease. Today we have offered prayers for the clergy and laity who are ill, who are in difficult circumstances. There are those who need special prayers, such as Archpriest Alexander Shargunov, Rector of St. Nicholas Church in Pyzhi, his mother Anna, and Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov, who is suffering heavily from this disease. These and many others that we have remembered today. Let us pray earnestly for them, because our prayers do not remain unheard.
I would like it very much if everyone who is now sick will survive this disease and return to us fit and healthy.”