"After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways .... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church." St. Philaret of NY 1985

Holy Innocents Slain by Herod 2


We know from the Holy Gospel that when the angel of God announced to the shepherds on that blessed night in Bethlehem that the Savior of the world was born, he said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Lk. 2:10).  And the hearts of the shepherds were indeed filled with great joy, as well as the hearts of the Magi who came later, and, of course, the heart of the Most-pure, Most-blessed Mother of the Savior!  What tremendous joy this was!  However, it is not in vain that the Church says that in this world there is sadness associated with every joy.  And this was also true in this case. 

In the Gospel we heard the sorrowful account of how these very blessed fields above which resounded the angelic hymnody ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace’ as well as the streets of Bethlehem were soon afterwards filled with the cries of infants being murdered and the wailing of mothers being deprived of their children.  Herod had tried to conceal his evil intent when he said to the Magi, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also” (Mt. 2:8).  He said that he wanted to see Him.  He probably thought that this was a wise plan of action and would be in his favor, but it did not work out because the Magi did not return to him.  It was not that the Magi wanted to deceive him, but they had received a direct order in a dream from above, from heaven, and they obeyed this command, returning straight home from whence they had come and not going back to the king.  Herod, however being evil, decided that they had deceived him and was enraged.  In order to fulfill his evil intent to kill the newborn King of the Jews, he killed around 14,000 infants in Bethlehem.  When Caesar Augustus, who was at the head of the empire at that time, heard about this monstrous act of Herod, he said, “It would be better to be an unclean beast in Herod’s presence than a man or child”. 

However, this is what I would like to say, my beloved brothers and sisters.  Herod killed 14,000 infants, but even though he killed their bodies, he could not touch their souls.  The Church glorifies them as the first martyrs for Christ, having shed their pure, young, innocent blood for Him.  On the other hand, in our long-suffering homeland, look how for many years they have been killing infants, not their bodies, but their very souls, by tearing them away from the Church and depriving them of any kind of influence by the Church, training them in godless thinking and making them atheists.  This is spiritual murder which is incomparably worse than physical murder.  Not 14,000, but many millions are being killed in this way.  Granted, the Lord has allowed this to happen.  However, it is impossible not to be grieved over the fact that here our children can attend church, partake of the Holy Gifts, and learn the Law of God, thereby attaining true Christian knowledge, while the children there cannot.  And even if some do manage to get Christian instruction, this is under threat of dire retribution. 

When St. John Chrysostom was asked why these infants [in Bethlehem] had to die like this, he replied, “This was allowed by God.  You need to remember that the important thing is not WHEN one dies, but HOW one dies.  We do not know what they would have been like had they grown up.  Maybe they would have been among those who maliciously cried, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him!’  But they did not live until that moment in time; instead they shed their blood for Christ the Savior, and in this way they met a glorious and martyric end”. 

We also need to keep this in mind.  No one knows when we will die.  Only the Lord knows.  We do not need to try to find out when we will die, but instead try to die in a Christian manner.  It is not so important WHEN death will come, but more importantly that it be a CHRISTIAN death.  You know that we always pray in the church services for ‘a Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless, peaceful, and a good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ’.  And so, remember that this is what we need to prepare for.  A good Christian never forgets that the hour of death will come, and he tries to live so that that moment will not be a terrible ordeal, but a joyful crossing over from earthly griefs to heavenly bliss.  The Lord calls every one of us to this.  Here He lies in a manger as if calling us to Himself, so that by fulfilling His sacred commandments, we may be worthy of a good Christian end, and whenever it may come, just that it be truly a good Christian passing.  Amen. 

St. Metropolitan Philaret of New York, Sermons, Vol. II, pp. 146-148 

Refresher for a Priest

Refresher for a Russian Orthodox Pastor 
Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky)

 1. Having accepted the grace of ordination, bear in mind of what a gift and of what mercy the Lord has found you worthy – and what responsibility you now bear. A priest is an apostle to his flock. "I do not belong to myself, but to others," said the great Russian pastor Fr. (now St.) John of Kronstadt.

2. Scripture says, "The priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts." Mind these words, Orthodox pastor. You must be a herald of God’s Law and the truth of God’s Gospel for your flock, which will turn to you for this very thing.

3. Fear as fire negligence in the holy work of ministry, more so in your service before the Dread Altar of the Lord of Glory. "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently," sternly warns the Holy Bible. Be a good example of the fear of God and piety for those who co-serve with you and assist you in your service. Be gone from the holy altar all you who enter it impiously.

4. Constantly pray to the Lord for help and understanding in running parish affairs. May the Lord grant you a spirit of chastity, humble-mindedness, patience, and love… One must have all of these virtues for work in a parish. Treasure the advice of older and more experienced brethren, and the wise counsel of laymen, pious and faithful to the Church. Hold fast the helm of your parish ship, but at the same time, before deciding an issue firmly and by pastoral fiat, first pursue the guidance of people who have earned your trust – although everything in the Church is decided by spiritual leaders – the pastors, it is first discussed in conciliar wisdom – in the spirit of catholicity, universal unity must imbue the parish’s life and work.

5. Holding firmly, I repeat, the helm in your hands, also try to attract good, pious church people to the living work of the parish, creating one harmonious, spiritual family with your assistants. Do not forget the children. Try diligently to teach, instruct, and raise them in the spirit of the Church, always and firmly demanding this of them and their parents. May your true helper in this be your God-given partner in this life – your Matushka. In the life of parishes, there have frequently been miscommunications and conflicts due to priests’ wives involving themselves in pastoral matters and the work of their husbands – this must be avoided. But at the same time, there are aspects of parish life in which a pastor’s wife can be his best helper, in large part in the work of the Christian education and upbringing of the children.

6. Laboring in the parish, do not stop laboring on your own soul. One must merge with the other. The Holy Apostle Paul instructs his disciple, St. Timothy: "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine… Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."

May the Lord be your Helper in everything. Having twice accepted the grace of ordination – to the diaconate and the priesthood – forget not to pray constantly for the hierarchs who laid their hands upon you.

Translated from the original Russian by Rdr. Gregory Levitsky

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese ROCOR-MP

Canon to St. Philaret (unofficial)

St. Philaret service

Add star 

Joanna Higginbotham

AttachmentThu, Nov 17, 2016 at 4:06 PM
To:  list parishioners Annunciation parish Tennessee

Dear Everyone,

last Sunday the priest at Holy Nativity in Portland, Fr. Constantine
Parr, told us a story from when he was a new convert back in the early

It happened that he visited the ROCOR Holy Trinity parish in Oxnard,
California, when St. Philaret was serving.  After the Liturgy there
was a meal, and when Constantine got to the dining hall there were no
empty seats.  Constantine just stood in the doorway, looking over the
dining room, when Fr. Philaret's ultra-deep-voiced English-speaking
deacon over to him.  He asked Constantine to come sit at the head
table with Fr. Philaret.

Needless to say, Constantine was astonished,  "Are you talking to me?"

Indeed he was talking to Constantine.  It turned out that St. Philaret
did not understand how an American would come to be baptized in the
Orthodox Church.  The meal was spent with Fr. Philaret asking
questions, wanting to know Constantine's conversion story, and the
deacon acted as the interpreter.

I've asked Fr. Constantine to put this story in writing in his own
words.  It would also be wonderful to include his conversion story, –
what he told St. Philaret.  If I get that account, then I will post it
on the St. Philaret blog.

link to the melody for St. Philaret's kontakion tone II (spec. mel.
"Searching the heights...")
ROCOR-MP website, but it's SJKP music
tiny url in case longer url breaks up in the email

love in Christ,

11.05S Philaret of NY rev 11_15.pdf
189K View as HTML Scan and download

PDF copy of unofficial service pending ecclesiastical approval.  It is ok for me to share it privately, but not to post it.  Eventually the loose leaf menaion service will be available from sjkp.

Here is the canon from the service::

Canons according to the Typicon; and that of the saint, with 8 troparia, the acrostic whereof is "Rejoice now, O all the world, in Philaret”, in Tone II—

Ode I
Irmos: Let us sing unto the Lord a new song, for He all-gloriously
saved Israel, delivering them from slavery; and the sea covered the tyrannical enemy.
Russia now joineth chorus with us, singing new songs of glorification unto the wondrous Philaret, who ever prayeth for our deliverance from tribulations.
Even great China, benighted in the gloom of ungodliness, held within its bosom a
flame of grace divine, the valiant confessor Philaret, who prayeth for it on high.
Jesus, having tried and tested His holy hierarch and found him worthy, brought him out of peril and set him to watch over the spiritual sheep of His Australian fold.
Theotokion: O the surpassing love of the Mother of God, who in her miraculous icon hath truly shown herself to be the joy of all who sorrow and a mighty protection for us all!

Irmos: The heavens of heavens, which declare Thy glory, O Savior,
move the multitudes of the angels to sing Thy praise; and men chant: There is none holy save Thee, the God and Lord Who hath brought all things out of non-existence into existence!
In multitudes let us gather, O ye faithful, to chant the praises of Philaret, the chosen hierarch of our Savior, crying with him: There is none holy save Thee, the God and Lord Who hath brought all things out of non- existence into existence!
Christ brought thee out of the spiritual famine of godlessness into a foreign land, as of old He saved His chosen people, bringing them into the land of Egypt, O Philaret; wherefore, thou didst cry: There is none holy save Thee, O my God and Lord!
Egypt enslaved the Hebrew children until God raised up Moses to lead them to the Promised Land; and thou, O Philaret, hast in our times led thy people out of bondage to the ungodly, and out of error to true faith in Christ Jesus, our God and Lord.
Theotokion: Never let us cease proclaiming the glory of the Mother of God, whose praises countless hosts of angels unceasingly sing; for there is none holier among those born of earth than the all-immaculate Theotokos, the Queen of the ranks of angels.

Kontakion of the saint, in Tone II: Spec. Mel.: "Seeking the highest..."—
Ascending on thy virtues as upon a fiery chariot, thou art united to the noetic ranks on high, O Philaret. Wherefore, thou art now a converser with the angels, O holy one, praying unceasingly with them to Christ God in behalf of us all.
Ikos: The discourse of thy teaching was apostolic, O divinely wise Philaret, and the breadth and depth thereof were filled with the Holy Spirit and made accessible to all, for thou didst instruct thy flock in simplicity of speech, that their understanding might be enlightened; and like the great Philaret of Moscow thou didst wholly become a clarion of the Trinity, sounding forth entreaties to Christ God in behalf of us all.

Sessional hymn, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “That which was mystically commanded..."—
Pondering the words of thy grace-filled homilies, O saint of God, we make haste to the sepulcher that holdeth thine incorrupt relics, as to a coffer that containeth treasures of gold and precious stones; and drawing forth
spiritual wealth therefrom, we are spiritually enriched beyond words. And, praising Him Who hath made thee a font of healing, we cry: Rejoice, O holy hierarch! Twice
Glory..., Now & ever...: Theotokion—
Pondering what was mystically commanded, the incorporeal one made haste to stand forth in the house of Joseph, saying to her who knew not wedlock: “He Who bowed down the heavens in His condescension will be wholly and immutably contained within thee. And seeing Him taking on human form in thy womb, with awe I cry unto thee: Rejoice, O Bride unwedded!”

Ode IV
Irmos: Thou camest forth from a virgin, neither a mediator nor an
angel, but Thyself incarnate, O Lord, and hast saved me, the whole man; wherefore, I cry to thee: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!
Over the pernicious passions that assail the souls of men didst thou triumph, O blessed father Philaret, and thou wast like an angel in the flesh, unceasingly crying: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!
When the ungodly sought to persuade thee to return to a Russia in thrall to the godless, O holy one, thou didst manfully refuse; wherefore, enraged, they tortured thee, but thou didst remain steadfast.
Over the mighty Amur didst thou pass, O saint of God, like as Joshua crossed the River Jordan to the Promised Land; and in China thou didst teach thy people to cry: Glory to Thy power, O Lord
Theotokion: Akhtyrka beheld the wonders of God poured forth upon the poor and afflicted through the miraculous icon of the Theotokos, which in latter times was divinely bestowed upon the holy Philaret.

Ode V
Irmos: Night hath passed; the day hath drawn nigh, and light hath
shone upon the world. Wherefore, the ranks of angels praise Thee, and all things glorify Thee.
Love for the young and fatherly care for the well-being of their souls led the holy Philaret to set forth for them the Law of God; and, saved in piety, they glorify God.
Like as the stars of heaven shed their rays amid the night sky, shedding fair radiance upon the earth, so do the divine words of Philaret enlighten men's souls.
The ranks of angels continually praise the King of heaven, and Philaret, who serveth Him with fear, now likewise glorifieth Him with gladsome hymns.
Theotokion: Having the words of the Lord to Whom thou gavest birth as a lamp for our feet, O Mistress Theotokos, we stumble not amid the darkness of our evil times.

Ode VI
Irmos: O Lord, disdain not the entreaty of Thy servants, which they
offer from the depths of their hearts; but as Thou didst bring the Prophet Jonah forth from the belly of the sea monster, so save us from the noetic and soul-destroying beast.
Even though the humble Philaret was the least of his brethren in the hierarchal rank, yet did Christ choose him to preside over the Council of Bishops, just as He chose the all-comely Joseph to rule over his elder brethren in the land of Egypt.
Woe unto you, O ye whose hearts are grown cold! Yet heed the instructions of Philaret, that, duly warmed ye may escape the soul- destroying beast, and all his cunning temptations and skillful machinations, wherewith he beguileth men's souls.
Over the fate of Bethsaida and Capernaum did Christ the Savior lament, foreseeing their downfall; and, imitating Him, the merciful Philaret sorrowfully lamented
the fate of the Orthodox who were forsaking their goodly inheritance.

Theotokion: Round about thy throne in the heavens, the armies of the angels stand arrayed, offering up praises to thee, O most pure Queen, and interceding with thee before thy Son and God, to spare those imperiled by the soul-devouring beast.
Kontakion & Ikos from the Octoechos in the tone of the week

Irmos: Imitating the cherubim, the youths danced in the midst of the
furnace, crying: Blessed art Thou, O God, for in truth and judgment Thou hast brought all these things upon us because of our sins! All-hymned and all-glorious art Thou for all ages!
Living on earth, we find ourselves in the midst of a fiery furnace of temptations, and we despair of our salvation; but do thou, O venerable Philaret, pour forth upon us the divine dew of thy precepts, that the burning of our passions may be quenched.
Dance now and clap your hands, O ye faithful, and cry out in thanksgiving unto God our Benefactor; for despite our countless sins He hath given us a mighty intercessor, who hath taught us to sing unto Him: All-hymned and all-glorious art Thou for all ages!
Imitating the bodiless ones, O pious Philaret, throughout thy long- suffering life thou didst cry out with them: Blessed art Thou, O God, Who reignest in truth and dost exercise impartial judgment, and all-hymned and all-glorious art Thou for all ages!
Theotokion: Never let us cease to sing praises to the all-pure Theotokos, joining our poor voices to the sonorous chanting of the cherubim; for having given birth to the King and Lord of hosts, she receiveth the homage of angels and men, as the Queen of heaven.

Îrmos: Let the angels unceasingly hymn, let men ever glorify, and let
all creation bless the Lord.
Philaret dwelleth with the hosts on high, and with them ever lifteth his
voice to glorify the Lord.
Heavenly mansions await those who serve the Lord, and there the
faithful Philaret doth dwell.
Triadicon: In unceasing hymns the angels bless the Trinity, and with
them the holy one likewise singeth.
Theotokion: Let us give praise to the all-holy Maiden, whose Kursk-
Root icon protecteth us from evil.

Ode IX
Irmos: O ye armies of the angels and multitudes of men, with
unceasing hymns let us magnify the all-glorious wonder and awesome mystery, the supernatural conception and ineffable birthgiving!
As the priests of old were charged with preserving the sacred Ark of the Covenant, going with the armies of Israel into battle, so was it given thee to guard the sacred Kursk-Root icon.
Rebuking those who had fallen into error, the blessed hierarch sought to convey to them the precious unity of the Holy Orthodox Churches; but many mindlessly spurned his words, reviling him.
Entering the courts of our God with praise, escorted by the angelic hosts on the day of their commemoration, O most venerable Philaret, thou dost untiringly intercede for all who call upon thee..

Theotokion: The hosts of angels and men join chorus in unceasing hymnody, seeking to praise what even the angelic mind cannot comprehend: the mystery of the incarnation of God through the Theotokos. 

Photo Group 1

Archbishop Seraphim, Saint Philaret, Archbishop Averky, Bishop Leonty, 
and Archimandrite Nektary [of Holy Trinity Monastery Jordanville and Jerusalem]