June 25, 2022

Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy - The Peace of God (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy

The Peace of God

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Divine Liturgy, beloved brethren, is the great Mystery of the Church, since in it the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ and we commune Christ, who is the source of life and immortality. Thus, you cannot be a Christian who does not go to church, does not attend liturgy without having a serious reason.

The Divine Liturgy begins with the proclamation: "Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages." It is a doxology of the Triune God, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Immediately after the remembrance of the Triune God, the Priest asks the Christians present to pray to the Triune God and to mention their petitions to Him and to ask Him for their needs.

In these short Sunday sermons of these two months (July-August), we will briefly interpret the petitions that the people are urged by the Priest to address to God at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy. In this way we will be able to understand their meaning and thus the liturgical prayer will be done with meaning and purpose.

The first three petitions of the supplication refer to peace, where three states of peace are mentioned.

The first state of peace refers to the way in which we should pray. "In the peace let us pray to the Lord", that is, let us pray to God in peace. It is about external peace, that is, with order and quiet, but also internal peace, that is, prayer without thoughts and mental activity. Both are needed for our prayer to have power. We should not talk in church, we should not create disorder, but neither should we think about various problems that concern us in daily life. Every time we attend the sacred church we must dedicate ourselves to God.

The second state of peace is the peace of God. "For the peace from above and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord", that is, the Priest urges us to pray that God will send us His own peace and grant us the salvation of our souls. Christ Himself made a distinction between the peace He gives and the peace the world gives (John 9:27). The peace of God is His Grace, for when it comes into our hearts, it frees us from every turmoil, every worry, every inner conflict.

The third state of peace is the peace of the world and of the Churches. "For the peace of the world, for the stability of the holy Churches of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord," that is, let us pray to God for the peace of the whole world, the stability of the holy Churches and the unity of all. Turmoil and wars are the result of the sin of the First-formed, who turned away from God, the source and ruler of peace. Feuds and schisms in the Church are the result of the passions of people who create problems in the Church and separate people into nations, races, languages, which is the fruit of sin. That is why we must constantly pray to God to send us His peace, to guard our hearts, and to banish fear, turmoil, and anguish.

Every time we liturgize and pray to God with these supplications, we must do it with great care, faith and power, because today people are in turmoil, burdened with thoughts, agony, but there are also many wars among humans. There are also many social upheavals. We come to church on Sundays full of agony and turmoil from the problems and temptations of the past week, which we encountered in our family, our workplace, society and that is why we seek calmness, tranquility, peace. May Christ, who is the ruler of peace, grant us this great gift, but let us also prepare ourselves to receive it, so that in the Church and the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist we will feel the peace of God.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.