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September 2, 2022

Homily on the Holy Martyr Mamas (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on September 2/15, 1957)

I have preached to you many times on the epistles of the holy Apostle Paul, which are extremely important for us, and I have urged you to delve into every word of them as you read these epistles. Listen now to my explanation of the words of Paul in the second epistle to the Corinthians: “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). The ultimate goal of our life is communion with Christ, His Eternal Father and the Holy Spirit in life eternal and infinity.

The achievement of this great goal must begin already in this life and continue with great labor and suffering until the end of it.

We must be deeply established in the law of Christ and in love for Him. With great joy and consolation we hear from the Apostle that God Himself establishes us in Christ, in His Law and in love for Him.

He anoints us for this great service with a spiritual anointing unknown to us, reminiscent of the visible, material anointing with which the prophet Samuel anointed Saul to reign over the people of Israel, and the prophet Elijah anointed his disciple Elisha for prophetic ministry. Having performed this spiritual anointing on His chosen ones, God seals them with the pledge of the Spirit.

These extraordinary words already deeply move us, for they depict the union between us and God, just as every union between people is affirmed as a pledge of fidelity.

This great pledge consists in the fact that those who are established in Christ receive the fruit of the Spirit, about which Saint Paul speaks thus: “ut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23).

Do all professing Christians receive this great pledge of their communion with God? No, not all, but only those about whom the Apostle Paul said in his epistle to the Romans: "And whom He predestined, them He also called, and whom He called, them He also justified; but whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 8:29-30).

The omniscient God, who sees our hearts from the womb, even before the birth of a person knows what the spiritual disposition of a person and the direction of his life will be - with Christ or against Christ.

In the epistle to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul writes about himself, that he was chosen by God from his mother's womb and was destined for Christ to be revealed in him.

He got the mind of Christ. He burned with love for Christ and, of course, was among the friends of Christ.

Only those who are like the Apostle Paul in this respect, only those who are able to become holy and righteous receive the anointing from God and the pledge of the Spirit.

And those who only cry out to Him: “Lord, Lord!” will hear from Him a heavy answer: “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who do iniquity” (Matt. 7:23).

The Martyr Mamas, whose holy memory we now celebrate, belonged, of course, also to the friends of Christ, was anointed by God Himself and received the great gifts of the Holy Spirit as a pledge of union with Him. Among these gifts was an extraordinary gift of loving communication with wild animals, understanding them and appreciating their spiritual life.

Before the beginning of his life among the animals, he was cruelly tormented for his faith in Christ, was drowned, but saved from the water by an angel, who showed him the mountain on which he was to live with the animals.

When, after a long time, soldiers were sent after him, they did not dare to approach him, fearing the animals around him, but he ordered the animals to move away and surrendered himself into the hands of the soldiers.

The tormentor Democritus, to whom he was brought, asked him with what kind of magic he pacifies the animals, and received an answer that we need to remember: “I am not a magician, but a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I preferred to live with beasts rather than with idolaters. Beasts fear God and revere the servants of God, but you do not know God and ruthlessly kill His servants.”

The spiritual life of animals and wild animals is little known and incomprehensible to us, but it is undoubtedly much deeper than it seems to us. One could give many examples of their attachment to people for the help and good deeds rendered to them.

I will only remind you of the heavily suffering and groaning lion, to which the Venerable Gerasimos of Jordan took a large splinter out of his paw. The lion followed him, did not leave him, tended his donkey and sometimes carried water instead of him. When the Venerable Gerasimos died, the lion lay down on his grave, beat his head on the ground, and died on the grave.

In the life of the great Catholic Saint Francis of Assisi, we read a legend about how whole flocks of birds flew to a large tree, under which he preached to them for hours about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why do these legends excite us so much and lead us to quiet joy? Is it because these are not legends, but true events?

We believe, we believe the martyr Mamas, that even wild animals have the fear of God. Let us live in such a way that our hearts are filled not with slavish, but with holy fear of God, and that we may be vouchsafed to be anointed by God Himself among the friends of Christ and receive the grace-filled gifts of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of this. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.