December 26, 2016
On December 25, 2016, the Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Pentecost, the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers and day of commemoration of St. Spyridon of Tremithus, the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk celebrated in the Moscow church of the Joy of All Who Sorrow Icon of the Mother of God the rite of union with the Orthodox Church for those who have temporarily fallen away from it, defecting into schism or sects.
On this day 115 people renounced paganism, sectarian errors and schismatic false beliefs. Metropolitan Hilarion addressed words of edification to them:
“I congratulate all of you, dear brothers and sisters, with the completion of your reunification with the Church of Christ.
The Lord has allowed each of you to fall into various errors. You have learned from personal experience all their dangers and the corrupting effect which they have on the human soul, mind, and spiritual development.
You have experienced this power of evil over yourselves, but the providence of God brought you back to the Church. And now, when you are reuniting with the Church, the Lord again calls you to live a Christian life, to flourish in knowledge of the truth and to rise from strength to strength (Ps. 83:8), on the path of spiritual perfection. And may your guide on this path be the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Read the Gospel every day that the Word of God would always resound in your mind and in your heart; that through the Holy Gospel the Lord Jesus Christ would always be present in your life and address Himself to you every day that you would hear His voice and reconcile your life with His Word.
Try not to miss the Sunday and feast day services. Commune of the Holy Mysteries of Christ, to unite yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ not only spiritually, but also physically, opening your heart to the Savior, Who is ready to come, settle in and live with you, and to act through you.
Name your sins in the Mystery of Confession to receive forgiveness from the Lord and cleanse your soul of all sinful defilement. Try to live according to the Divine commandments and to do good for your neighbors. And who are our neighbors? The Lord answers in the Gospel: neighbors are all who are in need of your help, and all who happen to be near to you (Lk. 10:25-37).
Christianity does not divide people into friends and enemies, those who need help and those who do not need any help. For Christians every person is a neighbor. And the Lord will teach us this through His Gospel, through the Sermon on the Mount, through parables and other teachings brought to us by His holy apostles.
Never doubt the truth of the words of the Lord in the Gospel. Never doubt the truth of the teachings of the Church. Evil and lying voices will continue to say that there is no truth in the Church or that it lacks the fullness of truth, or that it is somewhere in error. Don’t believe these voices and don’t listen to them. If you come across any sectarian, schismatic, or heretical literature, abhor it as an abomination, don’t keep it in your houses, destroy this literature and don’t allow your friends to come into contact with it, for its corrupting influence, which you personally experienced, would adversely affect other people.
Live Christian lives. Love God, love the Church of God, love one another and the Lord will always be with you, blessing your life’s path. Amen.”
Work with people who have fallen away from Orthodoxy is carried out in the Moscow church of the Joy of All Who Sorrow Icon of the Mother of God by the Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Non-Traditional Religions in memory of A. S. Khomiakov. Currently the center is lead by the church’s cleric priest Eugene Tremaskin. Preparatory talks are conducted for a few months before celebrating the rite of uniting to the Orthodox Church of sectarians and schismatics desiring to return to the true faith.