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July 20, 2022

Homily for the Feast of the Prophet Elijah (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

In honor of the prophet of God Elijah and for your edification, listeners, I would like to say a word. Let me tell you one incident from yesterday. We walked past your temple. Your all-night vigil had not ended yet; we rejoiced at this - we approached the church and saw the magnificent illumination of your temple, and heard your harmonious singing. How good it is, in a Christian way, in an Orthodox way; the prophet Elijah, a zealous zealot for the glory of God, no doubt rejoiced that you made up such a solemn feast in his honor. But listen to what we immediately saw. I can't keep silent about it. When adults stood with reverence and prayed in church, at that time small children misbehaved, ran around, laughed in the church, and of those who saw this, no one could find zeal to reason with them, appease them, stand up for the glory of God, for the honor of a prophet of God. This is not good, not Christian; this is not how the children of Orthodox parents should behave.

And we tolerate it, and we allow it, and we look at it indifferently, and we don't care about it. Ah, listeners, beware of such cases. We ourselves dishonor God when we do not stop other outrageous people, we ourselves offend God when we allow them to speak or do insulting things to God in front of us. "None of our business," you say normally. No, listeners, our business, our duty, our essential business, our sacred duty is to stop and admonish those who are outrageous. I will also say: we ourselves dishonor, offend God when we allow others to do and say something dishonorable and offensive to God. We sin especially, we seriously sin before God, when we do not stop, we do not admonish children who are being outrageous, who should stand reverently at the divine service in the temple of God.

Children who misbehave during a church service are empty children, a shame for parents, a dishonor for neighbors, a ruin for the village, an ulcer for the future generation, for from such children, if they are not corrected, good children cannot be born: from a bad tree come bad fruits. Thus, you, who do not appease the children, allowing them to stand disorderly in the church, sin a lot and will answer in the next world not only for your children, but for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The holy prophet Elijah, glorified by us, judged not so, acted not so. He always stood up for the glory of God, did not let anyone off, did not spare anyone. He punished with sword and fire all those who dared not honor God. He also directly told King Ahab: you are doing bad things, you are dishonoring God, you are corrupting your subjects.

Holy prophet of God Elijah! Breathe into us your holy love for the glory of God, send us your fiery zeal for God, so that we glorify God in word and deed. Amen.