I address all people who are not indifferent to God’s works, to their lot in the eternity, to everybody who has sincere Faith and Love to God and who tries to make good works while it is Day, because Night is coming when no one can work! Undoubtedly we live in the last apocalyptic times and a lot of people have become depressed and have a presentiment of coming disasters to the Universe, and any creative work seems to be senseless. But we cannot know times and terms given by God, we are given the commandment to work in mutual Love, in the place where God has placed everyone, without losing our heart but doing our best and remembering that first of all we work for the eternal heaven reward, and also for our children who have to live in this world after us and we will leave our faith for them and by our example they will be taught to be moral, make good deeds and have love to God and our neighbors.
Churches we build are performances of our faith, hope and godliness. The Omniscient God knows the name of every person who labors for creating the God’s House and it will have a wholesome influence for this person’s life, his/her children and his/her family. Recall the sad example of our country when God’s Churches were being destroyed by people who wanted to build a light future and were put to shame in their own insanity. And up to now, we, their descendants, cannot see the peace and prosperity which our soul wishes to do so much. Therefore, only actively correcting mistakes of the past we can hope for improving our life and that the God will prolong times and terms giving His mercy for us, His sinful and unworthy children.
I, humble Bishop Savvaty, ask everybody to make your contribution to building God’s Church. I’m calling God’s blessing on you and thank for the given help and support.
For hesitant persons I suggest to look through the Appeal of our Saint compatriot, ascetic and Miracle-worker of the last times, Prelate John of Shanghai, who also lived in difficult times and conditions. But relying on the God’s help, he was asking, seeking and appealing, and he not only received what he had asked building not a single cathedral for his life, and who was honored not only good memory but also eternal life in Heaven and great boldness before Face of God, and the proof of it are his Venerable Relics and numerous wonders. May God bless us feeble christians of last time and help with all our temporary good deeds, beginnings and intentions, and the main may Him confer on reigning with Saints in His eternal Glory.
Blessing of God be with you all.
An appeal of St. John Shanghai and San Francisco
Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” “Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?”
Who are those words of God addressed to? Long before Jesus Christ Birth God said like this through Haggai the prophet to jews who returned from Babylonian Captivity. But these words apply the same literally to Orthodox faithful of San Francisco.
Aren’t the same words are heard nowadays? Some people are saying: “The time is not come to build the Lord’s house.” Among them are many who are buying houses for themselves, who live in their own houses in full satisfaction of their material needs, or who are selling their homes to move into better and better dwellings, increasing their assets.
It is understandable when such words are heard from unbelievers… It is understandable when godless people hating everything what reminds them about God destroy churches which had been built by our devout ancestors. But how can they be repeated by believers who themselves go to church? Church is a place that is consecrated, holy, in which there always dwells the grace of God.
At the consecration of Solomon’s temple, the glory of the Lord in the appearance of a cloud filled the house of God. So it was in the Old Testament temple. How much more powerfully does the grace of God act in the temples of the New Testament where there is offered the true cleansing from sin, where we partake of the true Body and Blood of Christ, where during the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Spirit continually descends upon the gifts being consecrated and upon the people present?
One can pray anywhere, and God hears prayers from everywhere. But it’s much easier to pray in a church where everything is conducive to prayer. From there our prayers ascend to God, and the mercies of God are sent down upon us.
The construction of a church is a sacrifice to God; to allocate a parcel of land for church services is to sacrifice unto God a part of your own property, but most of all it is a gift of your love, your zeal. Temples were built under different circumstances – both during joyful and sad events. They were sacrificed by all the people just like candles around the native land.
After visiting the small in that time town of Moscow St. Peter, the bishop of Kiev told prince John Kalita to build the “The House of the Mother of God”. “What is the need in a new Church?” some people would say nowadays as there had been built a lot of churches in small Moscow by Kalita’s father St. Duke Daniil. But without any hesitation the Duke started to build the Cathedral of Assumption of Virgin Mary. And as soon as it was finished Moscow rose and its dukes joined all Russian land around it.
Churches are not needed by God Whose throne is heaven and Whose footstool is the earth; it is we who need them. It is we who benefit from donating toward the building of churches, although the Lord accepts not so much the substances of our alms as much as He does our zeal—the quality of our effort. Christ approved the widow’s mite, saying that she had given more than anyone else, for the rich cast in a great deal from their abundance, but she gave all she had, all her livelihood. Those alms we give in the name of God are received by God Himself. Spiritually, our alms are laid up in the treasuries of heaven, God’s treasuries, from which no one can steal them away. If someone steals any church possession, he steals from God Himself and he will be punished by God Himself.
With such attitude Russian pious people contributed to grey-headed elders for building temples. At each Liturgy, those who contributed to the building of the church are commemorated.
In building churches here on earth, we create for ourselves eternal habitations in heaven. Decades will pass, our bodies will decay, perhaps our very bones will turn to dust, but our souls will live eternally. Happy will he be who prepared for his soul a dwelling in the heavenly mansions. Even if the churches that are built should fall to ruin, the names of those who contributed to their construction will be written in God’s eternal books, and the prayers which arose from within these churches will be sealed.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord.
“I am with you, declares the LORD.” (Haggai 1)
Names of all the contributors for this God-pleasing deed will be included in a separate list for special prayers during God’s Liturgy and will be prayed for during special “Order of Service of prayer sung to our Jesus Christ for contributors”.
+ Humble Savvaty,
by the mercy of God, Bishop of Vinnytsia and Khmelnitsk
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