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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Homily Two for the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (Elder George Kapsanis)


 By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

We celebrated with spiritual joy the memory of the two foremost Apostles of our Christ, the holy glorious and all-praised Peter and Paul. Their contribution to the Church of Christ, to humanity, is so great that one must have a Chrysostomic mouth in order to be able to praise them worthily.

You are aware, after all, that Saint Chrysostom also wrote famous discourses praising Saint Paul the Apostle, for whom he had and nurtured the greatest admiration, and whose disciple and follower and perfect imitator was this holy Father of our Church.

I would like to build on, because the day calls for it, a point to emphasize today from the life of these holy Apostles of Christ, which impresses us, when we read their letters, when we see their whole life and apostolic dedication; and this point is their love, their worship, their devotion to the God-man Christ.

Because for both of these holy Apostles of Christ, everything and all was Christ, the Incarnate Son and Word of God. They did not have an abstract faith in God - which was the faith they had before their conversion, when they were still in Judaism - but what made them great, unique pillars and foundations of the Church of Christ is their faith, their love, their devotion, their eros, their heartfelt loving desire for the second Person of the Holy Trinity, the incarnate Son and Word of God, Christ.

Their life was Christ; they lived Christ, they breathed Christ. They had no other love than Christ. They had no other thought than Christ. Christ possessed their heart and their mind and their will and all their inner man.

They were so devoted to Christ that they could say, "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). They had an experience, which was not psychological but was of the Grace of the Holy Spirit, that now their ego had died, had been extinguished, and their individualism did not live in them, but the God-man Christ lived, and from Him everything proceeded and towards Him everything aimed.

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And because this is how they experienced Christ, this is how they preached him. They proclaimed that "no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11). No one can lay another foundation to build on his life, his society, the peace of his soul, whatever good he wants, except Christ. These are the words of the apostle Paul. One is only the foundation, the solid, the unshakable, the sure, the immovable, the eternal, Jesus Christ.

And what did the apostle Peter preach? What was his first sermon, when after Pentecost he received the Grace of the Holy Spirit? He proclaimed that "no one can be saved by a name other than the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 4:12). There is no salvation in any name but in the name of Jesus Christ.

And to think, that those who preached these things, sealed them with their blood and with their daily agony and their struggles and their pains and their martyrdom and their sufferings for the love of Christ.

And not only that, but to think that those who thus believed in Christ and thus proclaimed Christ as the only center of salvation for man and the world, were those who first persecuted Christ, like the apostle Paul, or they doubted the divinity of Christ or were of little faith, like the apostle Peter.

And yet, when they received the Grace, the gift of the Holy Spirit, they became so firm in their faith in Christ that for them there was nothing but Christ.

This preaching of Christ, as the only Savior of man and of the world and of our society, was delivered by the Holy Apostles to us through our most holy Church.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.