Divine Liturgy and Ordination of Deacon Gregory Edwards in Belgrade, December 16, 2007
"Ђаконски свети чин изражава, као почетни чин свештеничког служења, собом суштину свеколиког свештеничког служења у Цркви. Господ Христос је вечни Првосвештеник Цркве Своје који у Својој Личности и у Своме искупитељском богочовечанском подвигу, подвигу спасења и обновљења света и твари, спаја у Себи и Жртву и Жртвоприноситеља, и Јагње Које се приноси и Првосвештеника Који Га приноси Господу. Он је тај Који врши првосвештеничку службу у Цркви кроз векове, а Он Сâм за Себе каже: Ја нисам дошао да ми служе него да служим и да живот свој положим у откуп за многе. То значи да и свештеничка благодат и служба, поверена људима као сарадницима и саслужитељима Јединога Првосвештеника Цркве - Богочовека Господа Христа, као своју суштину и природу има управо служење; а реч ђаконство и ђакон и све изведенице од ње значе управо служење, приношење себе на жртву живу Господу да би нас Господ Својом љубављу и благодаћу као слабе људе употребљавао за вршење Својих светих Тајни за спасење света". Овим речима се, на крају Литургије Епископ Западноамерички Максим обратио присутном народу и новорукоположеном ђакону Грегорију Едвардсу, у препуном храму Св. Јована Богослова, на Православном богословском факултету Универзитета у Београду. Света Литургија је почела у 9 часова, а саслуживало је више свештеника.
Света Литургија и рукоположење Грегорија Едвардса у Београду, 16. децембра 2007
Ђакон Грегори је тако постао најмлађи ђакон Западноамеричке епархије, а иначе се налази на постдокторским студијама у Солуну (Грчка).
У среду на Никољдан, Епископ Максим ће, у пратњи новорукоположеног Ђакона Грегорија, посетити Епархију Захумскохерцеговачку и у Манастиру Тврдошу служити Свету Литургију.
Sermon of His Grace Bishop Maxim
The holy order of the diaconate, dear brothers and sisters, as the beginning of the priesthood expresses the essence of the diakonia (pastoral ministry) in the Church. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Eternal Archpriest of His Church. In His Being and His salvific God-man sacrifice, the sacrifice of salvation and regeneration of the world and matter, He unifies in Himself the Sacrifice and Him Who sacrifices; He brings together the Lamb and the Archpriest Who offers It to the Lord. He is the one who has been doing arch priestly ministry in the Church throughout the centuries. He said: “I did not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many. This, dear brothers and sisters, means that the priestly grace and the service that is entrusted to people – co-workers and co-servants of God-man Jesus Christ who is the Only Archpriest of the Church, has service as it’s essence and nature; the word deacon and diakonia and all other words that derive from it mean exactly that, service, offering oneself as a living sacrifice to God so that the Lord with His love and grace would use us weak people for the service of His Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) for the salvation of the world.
The blessing of the Lord be upon our newly ordained deacon Gregory and upon all of us. Amin.
There are, of course, steps of preparatory ranks of the priesthood, such as that of reader, cantor, door keeper, and so on, but these are not considered on the level of priestly rank because they are not of altar priesthood through which the bloodless sacrifice is offered during the Liturgy.
Dear brothers and sisters, entry into the Mystery of the priesthood is a response to the Lord’s call, the call from above. No one by his own will and according to his mind can pretend to have the priestly grace. Even less can one expect to have it by his own merits, virtues and worthiness. The Lord is the one who grants it as He wills, but, of course, it is up to us to work and be worthy to receive it.
According to the canons of the Church, there are minimal prerequisites that have to be met by everyone before ordination to the priestly ranks takes place. This is a minimal or smallest measure. But, a real measure to which the Lord is calling us, most especially those who minister His Holy Sacraments, is limitless measure of holiness; holiness which the Lord Christ has brought to the world and witnessed with His God-man Being as the only Holy and only new under the sun.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, we also today, even though the circumstances in which we live are rather difficult with much more sadness and tribulation than joy in the hearts of people and the atmosphere of spiritual life around us, we nonetheless, should rejoice this day. We should give thanks to God for His gift that in our generation one more young person has been called by God to serve Him - the young American man Gregory.
Dear brothers and sisters, I wish to remind you about this one truth, that is that the gift of priesthood is also a common gift of Christ, God-man, and Archpriest of the Church. This way all the faithful without exception are priests to the living God. Of course, this we understand not in the sense of the special, eucharistic, and altar priesthood which indeed is not ordinary, but a special and unique calling and vocation in the Church. This is in a sense of the general calling of all Christians to the priesthood of the Lord, for they too have responded to the Lord’s call to the repentance and service, to the truth and justice, love, faith and hope. Christians have renounced Satan, god of this transient world and time, who lies in evil; instead they have drawn near and have likened to the Lord Christ Who is the Only True God and Savior and Regenerator of humankind and matter and whose Church is the only workshop of salvation, sanctification and transformation of men and the entire creation.
There is no greater joy nor greater blessing for the human being then to be made worthy of giving one’s hands, lips, but first and foremost, one’s heart and the whole being with its strength and abilities, to the Lord’s service in this world. Indeed, there is no greater joy than to give oneself to the service of God’s grace, which calls all to salvation, preaches forgiveness of sins and a new life in Christ Jesus, and at the same time, serves the Holy Sacrament of Communion as the pinnacle of God’s gifts in this world and a sure road toward theosis (becoming Christ like) so far as we prepare ourselves.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, since you all have prayerfully participated in this gift of the priesthood of the Church of Christ, I (We) on behalf of all of you congratulate to the newly ordained deacon, our brother and concelebrant in Christ, Father Gregory, on his ordination to the diaconate. We prayerfully wish that he would preserve and multiply the grace that he has been given today so that when the time comes, he would receive, or be ordained, to the priesthood, thus numbered among the presbyters of Christ’s Church.
Congratulating deacon Gregory on his ordination to the diaconate, we hope that he will nurture and multiply the grace of the Holy Spirit that he had received in baptism and today during his ordination. May this grace of the Holy Spirit be with him and may he with it, without any division, serve God’s people, and through it, may he save others and himself.
Фото: Андреј Јевтић