Strumica Diocese: News

Divine Liturgy in Strumica ( 18.01.2009 )

Today, on the Eve of the Theophany of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, metropolitan Nahum of Strumica celebrated Divine Liturgy in the monastery of the Holy Fifteen Martyrs in Strumica. After the Liturgy, to all present faithful Bishop Nahum gave his book “Neither do I tell you…”, in which all his homilies on the Gospel’s readings are gathered.

“All who have entered the spiritual age of illumination can preach publicly with a word about Christ and about the mysteries of the Kingdom; whereas, he who is still at the spiritual age degree of purification of the heart from the passions can confess Christ and the Kingdom he is waiting to come only with humility, with absolute obedience, and with silence.  

Do we not see all this in Christ’s example as well? The Godman Jesus Christ until the age of thirty was anonymous and was obedient to His parents, although He could have performed all the miracles and preaching since His earliest youth. Only after His Baptism and the sign of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove and the opening of the heavens for human nature and the confirmation by the Father does the Godman Christ set out to preach. And, He does all this for our instruction. In the present day, without the gift of mind-and-heart prayer and without illumination of the mind and without but a little knowledge of the mysteries of the Heavenly Kingdom, we judge and condemn so easily, preach so easily, discuss so easily on subjects that are beyond our place in the Church and our spiritual knowledge, and we so easily and with arrogance correct the people we think have erred—occurrences that make every normal man wonder. Do we not close thus the road to our heart and to the Heavenly Kingdom once and for all? Let us watch out, there is a scheme of things, particularly in Orthodox spiritual life!

Saint Gregory the Theologian asks, “What should we know, what should we learn [from Jesus’ Baptism]?”; and answers, “That we must first purify ourselves, and think humbly, and preach in the perfection of both spiritual and physical age. The first thing refers to them who decide to get baptized and are neither prepared nor do they fortify their redemption through the acquired habit of doing good. For, if the gift of grace—and it is a gift of grace!—grants absolution of past sins, then it [purification] is even worthier of respect, so that we do not return to our own vomit. The second thing refers to them who exult themselves above the stewards of the Holy Mysteries, if some dignifying position makes them distinguished. The third thing refers to them who take courage in their youth [and learning], so they consider any time to be a good opportunity to teach others or to preside [over others]. Jesus is purified, and you despise purification? He receives it from John, and you go against your spiritual father. He is at the age of thirty, and you, still beardless, teach the elders—or think that you teach them—while neither with your [spiritual] age nor with any manner of your behavior do you deserve respect…” (from the book “Neither do I tell you…”)