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:

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Defining Faith

[Luke 5:1-11]

As we always say, “Words mean something,” and when we use words, we need to make certain that the words we use explain clearly what we’re trying to say—in speech or in writing.

Faith.  If we go to Webster to see what the word means, we learn the following:

Faith:  (n) 1a) allegiance to duty or person, loyalty, “lost faith” in someone; 1b) fidelity to promises, “acting in good faith”; 2a) belief and trust in God; 2b) firm belief in something for which there is no proof; 3) something believed with especially strong conviction.

In terms of Webster, it takes him (them) to #2 to find God in the definition.

But for me, the best one is 2b).  Those of us who regularly come to church define ourselves as “faithful.”  That doesn’t mean our attendance is regular—it should be, but that’s not the major point.  Majorly, faithful means we embrace the teachings of the Church with our whole heart.  As the Lord said in last week’s Gospel, in answering the lawyer’s question about “the greatest commandment,” Jesus said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is a statement of immersive love.  Every part of our being is called to engage this love, both physical and spiritual.  This kind of faith is unwavering.  We’ll get back to that in a moment.

In today’s Gospel, we find the Lord giving St. Peter a kind of ‘test of faith’.  Jesus says to Peter, Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.  It seems like a simple request.  But the life of one who fishes for a living is difficult.  Boats and sails and nets need mending and constant attention.  There are dangers in the waters.  And it is physically draining.

Still, Jesus give Peter an ‘invitation’ to go where He is leading.  As always, Jesus does not coerce.  He asks. What is St. Peter’s response to the invitation?

We’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing… It is a statement of fact which the Lord already knew, but Peter felt the need to re-state.  Peter continues—nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net.  In other words, if there are no fish this time, this is all on You, Lord!

This is not exactly a concrete expression of the deepest, unwavering faith!

But in this Gospel reading we find that the Lord is not going to require that demonstration of unwavering faith.  He intends to provide that which will engender such faith where it was not already.  The catch of fish is so great that their nets were breaking from the weight of the fish.  And because of this extraordinary event, what kind of faith does Peter begin to demonstrate?  He falls at the feet of Jesus.  He does not express confusion.  He does not speak of the Lord’s authority over nature.

No, Peter goes to his sins!  Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!  It is not a rejection like that which came from the people of Gadara when the Lord healed the demoniac.  Rather, it is a recognition that God in His holiness is incompatible with man and his sins.  It is a shout of repentance.

When is the last time that I demonstrated even the imperfect faith of Peter, let alone the robust repentance that comes from observing God’s grace poured out on His creation?  When have I shown that unwavering faith that the love of God for me proves Him deserving of from me?  

Let me seek to show such faith, beginning now!  As our own beloved St. Herman said, From this hour, from this minute, let us love God above all else, and seek to do His holy will.


Friday, September 1, 2023

The Need for Suffering

 [The following is an account from the book, "The Meaning of Suffering / Strife and Reconciliation," by Archimandrite Seraphim Aleksiev, 15-St. John the Merciful and the Woman, Pg 49.  May you find it edifying.]

The greatest mystics of the Faith have valued suffering as a sign of the great love of God, of God's thoughtful Fatherly care which we cannot fully understand while we are in this world, . but which will be seen as a blessing when viewed from the future life.

Church tradition relates that St. John the Merciful, after completing a Divine Service, once noticed that a woman was crying bitterly in a corner of the church.  He told his deacon, "Go and bring that woman, so that we can find out why she is so grieved - whether her husband has died, or her children are sick, or God has sent some other misfortune."

The deacon brought the woman to the Saint.  When St. John asked her why she was crying so inconsolably, she said, "How can I not cry, holy Father?  Three years have passed, and no sorrow has come to us.  It seems that God has forgotten us completely.  There is no sickness in the home, no ox has been lost, nor has a sheep died, and my family has begun to live carelessly.  I am afraid that we will perish because of our easy life, and that is why I am crying."  The Bishop-Saint marvelled at the answer and praised God.

In such a way the Christians of the past have considered sufferings to be sent from God and have grieved when they did not have sorrows.  If they needed trials in life so that they would not forget God and become estranged from Him, how much more necessary and saving are sufferings for us, contemporary Christians, who have sunk deeply in sins!  God would not send sorrows in this life if they did not have the power to save us from eternal sorrows in hell.


These scoundrels play an important role in today’s parable from our Lord [13th Sunday, Mat 21:33-42].  As with any parable, words are used to paint an image, and the imagery points to a reality being described, sometimes criticizing, sometimes praising, but always pointing to a truth that needs to be highlighted.  What are the ‘truths’ in today’s parable?

First, we need to understand that references such as this to ‘a vineyard’ point to the nation of Israel, for Holy Scripture is overflowing with such references.  Psalm 80:8 makes this clear:  You have brought a vine out of Egypt; You have cast out the nations and planted it. 

So, the “vineyard” is the nation of Israel.  But now, who are these ‘vinedressers’ to whom the landowner has entrusted the care of His vineyard?  First of all, let us understand a little about the use of the image of the vinedresser.

A vinedresser (or husbandman) is more than just a farmer.  To him, grapes are more than just an annual crop.  The grape vines remain with him for decades.  It is as if he comes to know each of them personally, much like a shepherd with his sheep.  He watches how a vine is developing from year to year.  He learns what each responds to and what special care each needs.  Each vine has a unique personality, and the vinedresser nurtures each according to its particular needs, pruning when necessary, fertilizing, lifting branches from the ground and tying them to a stake or trellis to protect the vine and its fruit from insects or disease.

Jesus’ use of the image of the vinedresser (the ‘owner’ in the case of today's parable) to show the relationship of the One Who loves His vines and how He desires to see that they are well cared for.

Further, Jesus elsewhere refers to Himself as the vine:  He says, I am the vine, you are the branches (John 15:5).  He uses the definite article in His description, not saying that He is “a” vine, but rather  “the” vine—the only place to which His loved ones should be attached to receive their source of sustenance.

But those who are surrogate vinedressers, ones let out to contract to care for the vines, these care little for the vines as compared with the Master vinedresser.  In the parable, these are the leaders of Israel, the scribes and Pharisees who beat His true servants and ultimately killed the Master’s Son.

In the Gospel of St. Matthew from which we read this day, it is to these men that our Lord is speaking via this parable.  Note with what loving care He continues to attempt to give these hard-hearted fiends the opportunity to repent.  Note that their hearts remain unmoved by the love He continues to show to them.

The ‘hedge’ planted by the Husbandman is the Law, with all of its ordinances, which He gave to them to protect them and to instruct them in the way of truth.  It was intended to keep them from being corrupted by other nations, an intention which they themselves rejected, preferring foreign ‘gods’ of such people to their own known God.

This chapter ends with these men recognizing that Jesus’ words are pointing to them.  As if desiring to fulfill the parable’s prophecy immediately, St. Matthew records, but when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.  The blindness of the evil fears retribution from people whom they judge to be simpletons, fools.

Such is human ‘wisdom’.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’