June 12, 2023

Homily for the Sunday of All Saints (Elder Philotheos Zervakos)

 By Archimandrite Philotheos Zervakos

(Delivered in the Church of All Saints in Paros in 1965)

Today our Holy Church celebrates the memory of all the Saints, those who were born and sanctified from the creation of the world, and until the end of the age those who will be sanctified. This feast is the greatest of all feasts (besides the Despotic feasts), because not just one Saint celebrates, nor ten, nor a hundred, nor a thousand, nor two thousand, or a hundred thousand, but millions.

All the millions of Saints are celebrating today, and in this feast is also the feast of the Queen of Heaven, the All-Holy Mother of God, all the angelic orders, all the Prophets, the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Hieromartyrs, the Confessors and all the Venerables. Therefore every believer today celebrates their feast, because all faithful Christians have names of Saints.

The Lord, always in the interest of the economy of His creatures, saved and chose from the human race His Saints, whom He made amazing with miracles and signs and made them, together with His Mother, mediators, protectors, guardians and shelters of people, of Christians.

Great is this economy and philanthropy of God; that is, to choose from the world holy people, and together with them is she who is "higher than the heavens, and much purer than the radiance of the sun," who is "more honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim" and all the Saints and Angels, His Mother, the Most Holy Theotokos. Had it not been for the Mother of God to intercede, to plead, to entreat Her Son, God, as One who is just, He would have eliminated all human existence. There would be no people on earth.

God being long-suffering and very merciful and very compassionate endures people, endures their sins, endures their blasphemies, but because He is also just, and loves justice, justice compels Him to punish the ungodly, the unjust, the blasphemers, the sinners, the filthy, the corrupt, the thieves, the robbers, and every sinful man. And this is just to a most just and most philanthropic God, since every way and means that could be used for the salvation of the human race was used.

After all the benefactions He did for man, He agreed, as God, to become a man, to be incarnated from the holy blood of the Holy Virgin and Theotokos Mary. And through His death on the cross and the shedding of His precious Blood He paid the debt of sinners. He was punished although He was blameless, innocent, guileless. Why? For man, the sinner, the evildoer, the unforgiving, the ungrateful. He suffered so many horrible sufferings and afflictions, to pay the debt of sinners, to deliver them from the eternal damnation they had been condemned to for their transgression and disobedience, from the bonds of Hades and corruption, and to restore them to Paradise, to the first blessedness, to the first happiness, to the first glory and honor, which he first gave them but they did not keep.

Because men appeared ungrateful, therefore God Himself complained, and, as if there were no man to hear His complaint, He complained to heaven and earth. "Hear ye," He says, "O heaven, and hearken O earth. Sons I have begotten and honored, but they have not rejected Me." I made, he says, men my children, I exalted them, I honored them, I glorified them, I gave them all good things, and they not only did not listen to me, but also dishonored me. They blasphemed me with the foulest and most obscene words.

The ox, He says, and the ass, and every beast, know their master, and are glad to serve him, for a little food that he gives them. For a piece of bread, which he gives the dog, he recognizes his master and guards him, honors him, and often dies for his master. But man did not understand the honor and glory that God gave him and became worse. He became like beasts and worse.

Well, the benefactions we have received from God are so great, that when we sin, after so many benefactions He has done us, justice forces Him, for edification, to punish people with various punishments, with wars, with earthquakes, with diseases, with hunger and other calamities, for the ingratitude of the people, for being without sense and without conscience. But many times the Panagia, whom He chose from all people and honored her for her purity, holiness and more for her high humility, with her motherly extensive prayers redeems us from the just wrath of the Lord.

Because the Lady Theotokos was humble, that is why He chose her and was born from her, to save the human race through her. Our Lady Theotokos always overshadows and protects the human race, but also sinners. And for them she still supplicates. And if there was no Lady Theotokos, we would suffer what Sodom and Gomorrah suffered. We would be consumed. He would cast down fire to burn us all. Our Lady Theotokos holds back the wrath and indignation of God.

The Panagia and All the Saints hold back the wrath of God, they restrain the wrath, but until when? People, instead of repenting, become worse. Time to wake up, because the wrath of God has arrived. It is in our hands, if we want, to be saved and it is in our hands, if we want, to perish. And the loss is not little, it is not small, because if the wrath of God comes and finds us unprepared, in sin, we will be condemned to eternal hell, from which we have no hope, ever, to be delivered.

Therefore, let us think carefully and as reasonable people let us repent. A repentance like that of the Ninevites, like the repentance of the thief, like the repentance of the prodigal, like the repentance of the prostitute and other sinners, will save us from the great danger, the great wrath of God. Therefore, I am asking you to repent, because the wrath of God has arrived. If we repent we will be saved, if we do not repent we will perish. The mouth of the Lord spoke it.

I pray that the grace of the all-good God, through the intercessions of His all-immaculate Mother and all the Saints, may beg the Lord, that His wrath and anger may cease, and that He may have mercy and compassion on us, as a philanthropist and merciful, and that He may find us worthy to be saved from the present danger and be found worthy of eternal good things and the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Become a Patreon or Paypal Supporter:

Recurring Gifts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *