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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

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(X) St. Philaret On the Raising of Lazarus

This sermon will not be saved here because I have it archived on another blog:
http://blessedphilaret.blogspot.com/2013/08/lazarus-saturday.html


ON THE RAISING OF LAZARUS 
What an amazing miracle this was! The Gospels tell us that our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, resurrected three people: first, the daughter of Jairus, the head of the synagogue, second, a young man, the son of the widow of Nain, and, finally, Lazarus. It is interesting to note the upward progression from one miracle to the next. The first resurrection was of a young girl, the daughter of Jairus, who had just died at the time. The Lord went to their house and brought her back to life. The young man of Nain was already being taken to the cemetery, the funeral procession having just gone out of the gates of town with his corpse. It was there that death which had already taken place met Life Who happened to be passing by, and Life overcame death. As for Lazarus, the Gospel tells us clearly that he had been dead for four days, and his body had already started to decay. That is why this miracle is so striking. Yet, the enemies of Christ denying His miracles try to explain them all away with natural causes. They claim that Christ knew some sort of secret science of healing, or that Lazarus had not actually died, but was just in a deep state of unconsciousness. They say that since Christ was very knowledgeable and had learned many things, He could also bring a person in a deep sleep back to life. However, they simply could not come to terms with what happened to Lazarus, for what kind of sleep could this be, when Lazarus had already begun to decompose when the Lord resurrected him?! 
We should remember, dear brothers and sisters, that for good reason the Church sings in the troparion these words: “In confirming the common Resurrection, O Christ God, Thou didst raise up Lazarus from the dead”. What does this mean? It means ‘Christ God, by raising Lazarus You attest to all that a general resurrection from the dead will take place’. The Lord Jesus Christ performed this astonishing miracle to show all of us that there WILL be a general resurrection, and that, in due time, as the Lord sees fit (we do not know when this will be), we will all die at some point and then come back to life in the general resurrection. 
The Lord is concerned for His faithful. He knows how difficult death is for people and how we perceive it as such a threat to our existence. Therefore, He shows us in actual deed what the resurrection of the dead will be like. He Himself said that those in the tombs will emerge at the sound of the voice of the Son of God, and, indeed, in this case, He spoke, and at His voice the one who had been dead and partially decomposed came forth healthy, whole, and unharmed. 
Let us remember that the Lord performed this miracle to assure us that there will be a general resurrection. Nowadays many people have lost faith and no longer believe in the truth of the miracles described in the Gospels. You can see for yourselves what is happening around us. Yet, this miracle should put the soul of a believer completely at rest, for the Lord clearly said, “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (Jn. 11:25). This is certainly very reassuring. When the Lord was speaking with Martha before the raising of Lazarus and said, “Your brother will rise again”, she said, “I know that he will rise again in the general resurrection at the last day when we will all be resurrected”. She answered correctly, for she had heard His teaching before. And the Lord said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (Jn. 11:25). Therefore, knowing what Christ promised us in the New Testament and knowing about His miracles, let this be our comfort and firm support of our faith and relief in sorrow when we are seeing off our departed ones. As the Lord raised Lazarus, He will raise us also, in due time, as He sees fit. Amen. 
St. Metropolitan Philaret of New York, Sermons, Vol. II, pp. 190-192 

Спасо-Вознесенский Православный Храм
Holy Ascension Orthodox Church
РПЦЗ
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

3921 University Drive
Fairfax, Virginia  22030
(703) 591 – 9445 
http://www.holyascension.info/

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