"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

St. Nicholas feastday 2 sermons

Sermon by the late Metropolitan Philaret given on December 19/6, 1970, Feast of Saint Nicholas.

He was the Metropolitan of the Russian Church Outside of Russia.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Among the hosts of those who pleased God there are many saintly bishops. Some lived lone ago; others lived more recently. Some are honored by the Church as a whole; others are venerated by local Churches such as our Russian Church.

But we would not be wrong if we said that perhaps the deepest impression on the Church was made by two saintly bishops: St. Nicholas and St. John Chrysostom.

St. John Chrysostom is one of the Three Hierarchs whose memory is celebrated on the same date, January the 30th: Ss. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom. Each of them is great and glorious and, as they themselves revealed to a bishop of old, equal in glory before God.

All of them left to us their spiritually inspired works, but we have more of St. John Chrysostom's writings than of either St. Basil or St. Gregory. In this he is unique. But beside sermons and theological catechist, a bishop's work lies also in another field of endeavor: this is in his role as a pastor doing deeds of mercy and Christian love.

All the three universal hierarchs, of course, were rich in this virtue, but St. Nicholas is especially fame for his acts of Christian mercy and the miracles of his pastoral love, and the words of the Old Testament wise man, that the Lord directs the steps of man were literally fulfilled in him. For truly, the Lord led him upon a path which he did not expect. Not without reason states the Russian proverb: "Man proposes, God desposes".

We know that St. Nicholas devoted himself from an early age to prayers and asceticism, seeking his salvation through Faith, hope and Christian love in complete seclusion, where he relived the lives of the ancient desert fathers. The place of his struggles in Palestine is still to be found. There he probably expected to end his life. But this was not to be. For once, as he was praying, he heard a voice saying: "Nicholas, this is not the field where I expect you to bring forth fruit. Go to the people, and through you My name will be glorified."

And we know from the story of his life of the touching circumstances surrounding his election to the Episcopal seat left vacant by the death of the bishop.

A council was called, candidates were nominated, but the ballots seemed hopelessly split. The Lord at night revealed to an elderly bishop that he should go to the church where he would meet a man, by the name Nicholas. This man was God's own choice. Early in the morning the bishop went to the church and saw a priest entering. He asked him: "What is your name?" and was told humbly, "My name is Nicholas and I am the humble servant of your saintliness, Master." The jubilant bishop brought Nicholas and presented him to the council which elected him to the throne.

St. Nicholas now understood that he could no longer lead the secluded life he once lived, for he had been raised as a candle upon a candlestick and must so become an example of Christian life for his people.

St. Nicholas, as we see, followed the will of the Lord, but most people prefer to follow their own desires.

An elder known for his great ascetic struggles, St. Pimen the Great, used to say that with their will men build a brass wall between themselves and God. Our great Russian elder, Father Ambrose of Optina also indicated how often man's will contradicts the will of the Lord. This elder explained that God does not impose a cross upon man, but that man often burdens himself by contradicting the will of God resulting in a weighty cross.

May the Lord give us the strength to walk according to His will. And His will is, as expounded by St. Peter: "be holy, for I am Holy". Also, may He, through the intercession of St. Nicholas, have us seek this holiness for His glory. Amen.

source: http://www.homb.org/st_annas/Articles/Metrop_Philaret/Sermon_1970_Nicholas.htm


Another one:


Митрополит Филарет: Святитель Николай Чудотворец

Автор: Митрополит Агафангел. Дата публикации: 19 декабря 2021. Категория: Архив РПЦЗ.

It is hardly necessary to say much about the special veneration in the entire Ecumenical Orthodox Church, among all, it seems, peoples, even non-Christian ones, namely, the name of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. We all know how the Church solemnly glorifies the great hierarchs - Ecumenical teachers and saints: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, we know what an enormous spiritual wealth of their creations these saints left to the Church, which still does not stop learning theological truth, theological knowledge and moral edification from their inspired creations.

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, however, did not leave anything of the kind, as if there were no special instructions or theological works left after him. And, nevertheless, the Church glorifies him so solemnly that the service, the divine service, somehow even more solemnly turns out for him than these three great saints, and approaches, in its solemnity, to the service of the twelve feasts. Why ? Yes, because in his life he embodied all the virtue to which the Savior of the disciples called, about which He said that this is why people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another - the love that he preached so much great apostle of love John. It is this virtue of love that Saint Nicholas embodied in his life as few of the other saints of God.

All of them, of course, and those great ecumenical saints of whom I just remembered, all of them directly breathed love, shone with love. But the saint - the miracle worker Nicholas is not in vain called by our Russian people "Nicholas the Merciful". The Russian people used to say: “You’re bad, you are in need, you’re in grief, pray to Nicholas the Merciful, and he will tell the All-Merciful Savior.”

The Holy Apostle John the Theologian preached love in such a way that they called him “the apostle of love,” and Saint Nicholas so embodied love in his life that he is called Nicholas the Merciful. But remember, beloved, that if the Lord said that all Christians, His disciples, can be recognized by the sign that they have love for one another, then at the same time it is necessary to remember that Christian love is not at all indifferent to everything and to all. Look, for example, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, out of His love, gives us the commandment to love and forgiveness, saying: If you are hit on one cheek, turn the other - with love you will immediately soften your opponent.

But at the Ecumenical Councils, when they talked about heretics, did they say that you and I are one in love? Not ! They denounced them and excommunicated them from the Church, betrayed them anathema! Why is it so often that we, the Russian Church Abroad, are now being told: you do not have love — you don’t want to have fellowship with those, you don’t want to communicate with those, you say, you cannot, — you don’t have love! Once upon a time, still the Old Testament sage Aristotle, the great philosopher, with his philosophy opposed his spiritual father, the teacher of philosophy, the sage Plato. They even began to say to him: "Why are you going against your teacher, against Plato, are you his student?" - "Plato is dear to me, but the truth is dearer."

For Christians, this truth is even dearer. In the name of truth against falsehood, the Apostle Peter and others raised their voices; in the name of truth against heresies, against heretical lies, the holy fathers of the Ecumenical Councils raised their voices for the love of truth, they who oppose this truth, anathematize, cut off from the Church. And now they tell us: "You are all good!" And it is precisely love that indicates that a lost person does not need to be told that he is good, but that he needs to point out his mistake. Everyone knows how at the 1st Ecumenical Council, hearing the blasphemy against the Son of God, Saint Nicholas struck Arius in the face.

The one who really loves the truth will denounce the enemies of the truth, but will not agree with them. If he sees a person who has gone astray, he will try to reason with Christian love, but he will never take him by the arm and say: we are one with you! And now these temptations are constantly before us. In ecumenism, which is spreading like a wave all over the globe! And in all sorts of other heretical misconceptions.

Let us remember this, beloved, both the apostle of love John the Theologian and Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker - they all call us to love. They themselves shone with love and they call us to it. But remember that the love of truth must come first. If a person gets lost, point out, and if he maliciously resists, then expose him without any fear, as the apostles and holy fathers did. And then only, really, the truth is defended, as it should. Then only you will truly be the son of truth, the son of Christian love, and then, through this love, they can learn about you that you are truly a disciple of Christ. Amen.

Вряд ли нужно много говорить о том, каким особым почитанием во всей Вселенской Православной Церкви, у всех, кажется, народов, даже нехристианских, пользуется, именно, имя святителя и чудотворца Николая. Мы с вами знаем, как Церковь торжественно прославляет великих иерарховВселенских учителей и святителей: Василия Великого, Григория Богослова и Иоанна Златоуста, знаем, какое громадное духовное богатство своих творений эти святители оставили Церкви, которая до сих пор не перестает поучаться богословской истине, богословским знаниям и назиданиям нравственным из их вдохновенных творений.

Святитель чудотворец Николай однако ничего подобного не оставил, не осталось после него, как будто бы, ни особых наставлений, ни богословских трудов. И, тем не менее, Церковь так торжественно прославляет его, что ему служба, богослужение, как-то даже торжественнее получается, чем этим трем великим святителям, и приближается, по своей торжественности, к службе двунадесятых праздников. Почему ? Да потому, что он в жизни своей воплотил всю добродетель, к которой Спаситель учеников призывал, о которой Он сказал, что потому-то люди и узнают, что вы Мои ученики, если будете иметь любовь между собоюту любовь, которую проповедовал так много великий апостол любви Иоанн. Вот эту добродетель любви, святитель Николай так воплотил в своей жизни, как мало кто из других угодников Божиих.

Все они, конечно, и те великие святители вселенские, о которых я только что поминал, все они прямо дышали любовью, сияли любовью. Но святительчудотворец Николай не напрасно назван нашим русским народом «Никола Милостивый». Русский народ так и говорил: «Плохо тебе, нужда у тебя, горе у тебя, помолись Николе Милостивому, а он расскажет Спасу Всемилостивому».

Святой апостол Иоанн Богослов проповедовал любовь так, что его и назвали «апостолом любви», а святитель Николай так воплотил любовь в своей жизни, что его именуют Никола Милостивый. Но помните, возлюбленные, что если Господь сказал, что всех христиан, Его учеников, можно узнать по тому признаку, что они имеют любовь между собою, то в то же самое время нужно помнить, что христианская любовь совсем не есть любовь безразлично ко всему и ко всем. Смотрите, например, Сам Господь Иисус Христос, по любви Своей, дает заповедь нам любви и прощения, говоря: Если тебя ударили в одну щеку, подставь другуюлюбовью ты сразу смягчишь своего противника.

Но на Вселенских Соборах, когда речь шла о еретиках,разве говорили, что мы с вами в любви едины ? Нет ! Они их обличали и от Церкви отлучали, анафеме предавали ! Почему так часто нам, Русской Зарубежной Церкви, теперь говорят : вы любви не имеетес теми не хотите иметь общения, с теми не хотите, с теми, – говоритенельзя, – у вас любви нет! Когда-то, еще ветхозаветный мудрец Аристотель, великий философ, со своей философией выступил против своего духовного отца, учителя философии, мудреца Платона. Ему даже стали на это говорить : «Что ж ты идешь против своего учителя, против Платона, ты ж его ученик?» – «Платон мне дорог, но истина дороже».

Вот для христиан эта истина и дороже. Во имя истины против лжи поднял свой голос апостол Петр и другие ; во имя истины против ересей, против еретической лжи поднимали свой голос святые отцы Вселенских Соборов, ради любви к истине, они тех, которые этой истине противятся, анафематствовали, отсекали от Церкви. А теперь нам говорят : «Вы все хорошиА как раз любовь и указывает на то, что заблудившемуся не нужно говорить, что он хороший, а нужно ему указать на его ошибку. Все знают, как на 1-ом Вселенском Собре, услышав хулу на Сына Божия, святитель Николай ударил Ария по лицу.

Тот, кто действительно любит истину, тот врагов истины будет обличать, а соглашаться с ними не будет. Если он видит человека заблудившегося, он по любви христианской постарается вразумить, но никак не будет брать его под руку, и говорить : мы с тобою едины ! А теперь эти соблазны постоянно пред нами. В экуменизме, который разливается волной по всему земному шару ! И во всяких других еретических неправомыслиях.

Будем же это помнить, возлюбленные, и апостол любви Иоанн Богослов, и святитель Николай Чудотворецвсе они зовут нас к любви. Они сами сияли любовью и нас к ней призывают. Но помните, что любовь к истине должна стоять на первом месте. Если человек заблудилсяукажи, а если он злостно противится, то его обличи без всякой боязни, как это делали апостолы и святые отцы. И тогда только, действительно, защищается истина, как должно. Тогда только ты будешь, действительно, сыном истины, сыном христианской любви и могут тогда по этой любви узнать о тебе, что тыдействительно ученик Христов. Аминь.