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On May 22, 2012, the commemoration day of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), celebrated the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts at the church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist at the Patriarchal Metochion of the Wonder-workers of Chernigov. 

With the blessing of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, since 2010 the metochion compound has housed the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post-Graduate Studies (CMI).


After the liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion addressed the congregation, stressing that the Lord brings people to the Church so that they may live to the limit of their spiritual and physical resourses. ‘Through the Divine Liturgy and the whole order of church life, He reminds us that the most important dimension in human life is the one linked with our communion with God. All the rest is secondary and is built around this principal center’.

In a special address to the CMI students, who came to pray together with the faculty and rector, he said that ‘the substance of our life lies in the service of God… The most important thing for both our clergy and laity is to make the life of each of us not just a waste and human vanity but the service of God by all our thoughts and deeds’. 

We study, he said, to put the knowledge received on the altar of the Church, ‘to become Christ’s warrior. Already during our studies, we should become such warrior… We should think not how to please ourselves and how to please God and do good works for people’s benefit. It is the ultimate goal of our studies’. 

‘We all are called by God to serve Him not because He needs our service but because the service of God is the loftiest human service. It should not be understood technically, only as celebration and devotion but also awareness that human life brings forth good fruits only if it is dedicated to God. Then one becomes a candle standing on a candlestick (cf. Mt. 5:15) and the light one shines illuminates other people. But it is not one’s own light but the divine light which, through this person, is spread to those around him’.


CMI Press Service