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September 9, 2022

Homily Two on the Nativity of the Theotokos (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1957)

"Your birth, O Theotokos, brought joy to the whole world,..."

Will not these opening words of the troparion of this great feast seem like an exaggeration to some of you? Would you say that not only Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, but even Lutherans who have departed from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, Protestants, and all sectarians do not feel any joy on the birthday of the Most Holy Theotokos, whom they consider only a simple pious woman, of which are very many?

If you think so, then I will in no way agree with you, because the troparion of the feast speaks precisely of the joy of the entire universe, and not just our little land. And the universe is immensely large, and in the night sky we see countless star worlds.

It is impossible, of course, to think that all these stellar worlds were only huge masses of luminous matter, that the whole life of these innumerable brilliant worlds was limited to what we know about them on earth.

It is impossible to think that only one of our small planets was inhabited by spiritually intelligent beings, and the rest of the universe was not inhabited by anyone. We do not doubt that all these countless worlds, that the whole universe is inhabited immeasurably by angelic incorporeal powers above us.

And for these disembodied powers, the Nativity of the Theotokos was a great, universal joy.

We, the inhabitants of the earth, with our very limited mind, tend to live only by what we see and hear on earth, and rarely, rarely do we go beyond these earthly interests.

And the incorporeal powers of heaven, the Archangels and Angels, have access to knowledge and understanding much more than we, the inhabitants of the earth.

In the countless worlds of the universe, created and controlled by God, great events take place, not known to us, but led by the incorporeal powers of heaven, events slowly and gradually are made aware to them as they occur and develope.

For them, the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos was such an event, which they perceived as a kind of dawn just breaking out of some great work of God. And they fully understood it only when the salvation of the human race was accomplished by the Cross of Christ and the Resurrection.

Having finished this explanation, let us turn again to the troparion of our great feast: “... for from you dawned the sun of righteousness, Christ our God. Freeing us from the curse, He gave us His blessings. Abolishing death, He granted us eternal life.”

And the inhabitants of heaven saw the dawn of that great day, just dawning, when the Sun of righteousness Christ our God shone from the womb of the Theotokos, and by His honorable Cross the curse of God for the original sin of Adam and Eve was lifted from the human race, when by the glorious Resurrection of Christ the human race received a new blessing, when the Cross of Christ abolished the death that weighed on us, and the entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven, the kingdom of eternal truth and Divine glory, was opened for us.

Let us give with all the strength of our hearts praise, and honor, and immeasurable thanksgiving to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity, who by the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos laid the foundation for our salvation by the Son of God. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.