Welcome to Saint Herman's, Hudson, Ohio

This blog is a partial compilation of the messages, texts, readings, and prayers from our small community. We pray that it will be used by our own people, to their edification. And if you happen by and are inclined to read, give the glory to God!

The blog title, "Will He Find Faith on the Earth?" is from Luke 18:8, the "Parable of the Persistent Widow." It overlays the icon of the Last Judgment, an historical event detailed in Matthew Chapter 25, for which we wait as we pray in the Nicean Creed.

We serve the Holy Orthodox cycle of services in contemporary English. Under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Patriarchal Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia, we worship at 5107 Darrow Road in Hudson, Ohio (44236). If you are in the area, please join us for worship!

Regular services include:
Sunday Divine Liturgy 10AM (Sept 1 - May 31)
930AM (June 1 - Aug 31)
Vespers each Saturday 6PM

We pray that you might join us for as many of these services as possible! We are open, and we welcome inside the Church all visitors. See our Parish web page:

Monday, February 27, 2023

Outside of Paradise

Today’s theme is forgiveness.  To be truly forgiven requires two things: 1) Repentance on the part of the one seeking forgiveness; 2) a willingness to truly forgive on the part of the one being approached for it.

Inside of Paradise, there is no need for either of these.  For within Paradise there is no sin.  Without sin repentance has no meaning, nor does forgiveness.

Outside of Paradise sin is ubiquitous, as is the essential need for repentance.  But outside of Paradise we also find the human condition where those who FEEL as if they’ve been slighted (sinned against) are unwilling to forgive.  It’s the human condition of seeking revenge.

The concept of revenge is perhaps the single largest cause of war in the world.  “Your grandfather killed mine, and I must now avenge ‘his memory’,” whatever that means.  The same holds true even in the streets of our own country, where one gang member slays the brother of someone, and to prove that they won’t tolerate such violence, they return to murder one from the side of the first offender.  And, it never ends.

In today’s Gospel, our Lord (as He so often does) gives us a Divine view of forgiving and repenting.  He personalizes it for us.  If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  Note the absoluteness of His words.  Jesus does not say the Father may forgive you.  It is truly the ultimate quid pro quo!  Do this, the Father does that!

The word translated as trespass is the Greek word paraptoma.  Trespass is an appropriate translation, but it also carries the meanings of offence, sin, fault, and either intentional or unintentional error on the part of the offender.

About this phrase from Holy Scripture, St. Theophan writes the following:

What a simple and handy means of salvation!  Your trespasses are forgiven under the condition that you forgive your neighbor’s trespasses against you.  This means that you (your salvation) are in your own hands.  Force yourself to pass from agitated feelings toward your brother to truly peaceful feelings—and that is all.  The day of forgiveness—what a great, heavenly day of God this is!  If all of us used it as we ought, this day would make Christian societies into heavenly societies, and the earth would merge with heaven.

The earth would merge with heaven.  Heaven on earth.  Back inside of Paradise!

It IS possible, but our human hearts must be conformed to the Lord’s instruction and His will for us in our own lives.

On this day, within the upcoming Forgiveness Sunday Vespers, we’ll pray together the following:

Your grace has shown forth, O Lord, giving light to our souls.  Now is the acceptable time, now is the season of repentance.  Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, that having sailed across the great sea of the Fast, we may reach the third-day Resurrection of Christ our Lord, the Savior of our souls.

Let us live in the Light that is our Lord, freely granting forgiveness to all who seek it, and in the greatest humility offering sincere repentance to all for the many sins—known and unknown—that we have committed.

Forgive me, my brothers and sisters in Christ! 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Sermon - Sunday of the Last Judgment


Convenient Forgetfulness

   Today’s Gospel reading (Mat 25:31-46) is referred to by some as another of our Lord’s parables.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.  It is in fact prophecy.  What is presented is our Lord's knowledge of the scene that He has already seen on that Last Day.  He knows what lay in our future, He sees it as clearly as we can see the words on this page right now.  So this is not some kind of “story” which the Lord gives us to bring us to good conclusions.  It is a factual recounting of what we all will experience when He calls all to judgment on that Last Day.  The words of the Gospel show this when Christ begins with the words, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him…”

Because of this, today’s Gospel is one account that should remain with us every day of our lives, and it should be this way for minimally two very important reasons:

First:  In this account, Jesus, as the Just Judge, outlines the details against which all of us will be judged. 

It all seems so very simple!  The requirements are only six:  1) feed the hungry; 2) give drink to the thirsty; 3) welcome the stranger; 4) clothe the naked; 5) visit the sick; 6) care for the imprisoned. 

Our Lord then carefully crafts His instructions about these details.  He first indicates that we are to do these for Him.  But then Jesus follows this up with the connection that He is to be seen by us as the person He describes as the least of My brethren.  We must analyze these words, we must attempt to study them with great care, for within them lay our eternal salvation!

“Least”, in Greek ‘elachistos’, meaning short or little, yes, but also meaning low in dignity.  It calls to mind the words of the Apostle Paul from 1Cor 4:13 when he refers to us as being the offscouring of all things, the scum that is rejected.  It is these to whom our Lord points and for whom He instructs us to be servants!

Jesus refers to these same people as His brethren.  The Greek word is ‘adelphos’, yes brothers, but literally from the same womb, sharing in all things related to our humanity.

Second:  From the “test” of our faithfulness to meet our Lord’s instructions to us for life in this world, our eternal disposition will be determined.  This judgment will not be something arbitrary, as is often the case before worldly judges.  In this case, the judgment will be clear and unequivocal.  We will see the judgment ourselves.  It won’t require the pronouncement—it will be totally clear, to us, and to all.  Our Lord told us, I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father Who sent Me. (John 5:30)

In our world, these pesky details are allowed to be relegated to the background of the Gospels.  They’re easy to forget, or to at least relegate to a place of unimportance in our daily affairs.  But we must daily ask ourselves—How can we allow ourselves to make insignificant that which has everything to do with our eternal salvation, our place in the Kingdom of Heaven?

We can’t!  Don’t allow it!!!

Monday, February 13, 2023

Sunday of the Prodigal Son


The Recklessness of Youth

   We have comparatively few in our congregation who would fall into the age bracket of today’s Prodigal. 

For those of us who have crossed that threshold and been in that situation, we’ll no doubt remember some things that today we find troubling.  Then we used the word “carefree.”  Today, we’d couch the attitude to be careless!  We were “fun loving” when we should have been sober minded.  We thought we would live forever, only to find that our best friends began to perish around us, leaving us devoid of friendship in years when we perhaps need it the most.  And so today we mistakenly think we have the wisdom of the ages while we continue to live lives that remain focused on self, on wants, on consumption.

We were prodigals then, and we remain prodigals now.  Let’s again go to definitions:

prodigal: adj, rashly or wastefully extravagant.

Yes, that pretty much describes me, along with most of the generation that I grew up with, who by the grace of God remain living and breathing on this earth.

How do we (I) differ from the youth in today’s Gospel?  I dare say not by very much.  He was selfish.  So am I.  He was wed to the pleasures of the world.  So am I.  He was self-serving.  So am I.  He didn’t see the love given him by those closest to him.  Nor do I.  He recklessly squandered the good things his Father gifted to him.  So have I.  Indeed, not much separates us from one another!

Until, that is, when extreme hardship hits.  Unlike him, I am not in peril of dying from hunger.  And yet, with all the trouble and hardship we see in the world, do we not understand (yet) that it doesn’t take very much to lay waste to all the ‘good’ that surrounds us?  A year ago, Ukraine was a beautiful land, with many spiritual resources, a prosperous economy, safety in the homes and streets.  Now, much is laid waste.  Several days ago, Turkey was operating ‘normally.’  In one ‘natural disaster,’ over 25,000 are dead, families torn asunder, with poverty, homelessness, hunger, and disease now the order of the day.

The Prodigal had his world fall apart on him as well.  When it happened, there were two possible paths for him to take: 1) to continue to live in misery and want; 2) to repent and admit guilt over the way of life he’d chosen, and to go home.

Turkey is a study in how fast things around us can change.  Ukraine is a study in sin eroding the morals of a society that was once focused on love, but now on hate—a situation that can only be remedied by repentance, the repentance of fellow Orthodox Christians on both sides!

The Father in today’s parable is the single greatest example our Lord has given us on how we should view our heavenly Father.  He is the definition of love.  He loves us so much that He gives us leave to live as we choose, so that we might, like the Prodigal, “come to our senses” and return to Him, to seek Him in that same repentant state, not asking for anything more than to be a servant—the state we should have embraced as our own from the beginning.  For truly, there IS no higher calling than this!

Monday, February 6, 2023

Man's Thinking vs God's Wisdom

 We like to think of ourselves as having well-grounded intellects, as having the ability to see right from wrong, as being good and sound judges of character.

All too often we ‘pre-judge’ situations based on totally irrelevant things.  There are categories of people whom we’ve historically pre-judged as being worthy of our trust—teachers, police officers, doctors, priests.  And yet we know in our own days (and even recent days) how some outlier members of these ‘categories’ have shown themselves to be unworthy of such trust.  We live in a fallen world!  Only God truly knows the hearts of those He has created!

And this brings us to the image painted lovingly by our Lord in today’s parable (Luke 18:10-14).  From the superficial categorically based kind of pre-judgment, those of that time would have seen anyone whose profession was ‘publican’ to be completely untrustworthy.  They were seen as thieves, scoundrels.  They misused the authority given them by Rome to steal, not only from the rich, but from any whom they thought they could steal!  It’s the image of last Sunday’s Zacchaeus, as well as many others who were set in place and protected by the Roman authorities to extract a tax from the citizenry in their area.  And a corrupt government allowed thier appointed publicans to take whatever else they chose to take—as long as the government got their ‘quota’ - first!

Meanwhile, those known as Pharisees were seen as above reproach, “men of God” who would never consider a misstep or to plot anything sinful or harmful to others.  They were the ones trusted to arbitrate civil affairs.  They interpreted the Law of Moses.  They settled disputes.

When taking a superficial look at the Lord’s parable for this day, one would immediately jump to exactly the opposite conclusion from that which He shows us in the end.

What is it that makes the Pharisee ‘bad’ within the parable?  It is precisely his focus on his own belief in the aforementioned pre-judgment, actually believing it of himself.  And from the text of the parable, there is much to support such a perspective, if it is true.  He does not extort from those he is set to judge.  He keeps to his own wife.  He gives his required tithe.  In all of these, there is ‘good’ to be found.

And if we look for the good in the Pharisee by our pre-judgment, we’d look for the unjust in the publican.  But in his own words, we find no evidence of the evil.

In the words of the two men, all we truly find is the result of their own self-assessments.  For the Pharisee, there is only praise for himself for how good he judges himself to be.  For the publican, there is only one cry—for mercy from God!

A plea for mercy comes from only one source—a broken and contrite heart, in the words of the Psalmist.  The publican knows his sin.  And he brings that sin to God asking the only thing he CAN ask of the Just Judge—mercy.

As we enter the ‘vestibule’ of the Great Fast in these preparatory Sundays, let us examine our own hearts and souls, and then find ourselves to be a companion of the publican, offering our own tears, as does, with the deepest repentance.