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МY WORK IN THE VINEYARD OF CHRIST

"Pray for me, that utterance may be given unto me –
that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel."
(Ephesians 6:19)

A COLLECTION OF ARTICLES AND SERMONS
(On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his archpastoral service, 1948-1973)

A publication of the Eastern American Diocese 1975.
Republished by the Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese 2010-2011.

   This section of our website is dedicated to the memory of Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky), one of the greatest archpastors of the Russian Church Abroad and our diocese. In 1975, on the 25th anniversary of his archpastoral service, Archbishop Nikon published "My Work in the Vineyard of Christ," a collection of his sermons and articles written over the course of his work as an hierarch of the Eastern American Diocese.

   On the first page of the book, His Eminence writes: "We hope that, in the future, when Holy Russia is resurrected, the history of the Russian Church Abroad as the guardian of Holy Russian Orthodox in the years of tribulations will be written." Today, when Holy Russia is being resurrected, these words of the Russian Diasporan hierarch are aimed directly at us.

   The Lord have seen fit to make us sinners witnesses to the resurrection of Holy Russia. In this we are given a great responsibility.

   In order to best prepare for the challenges of the future, we must better understand our roots and draw from the lessons of our forebears. Archbishop Nikon was a pillar of faith, a great man of prayer, and a magnificent orator, who continued the work of his teachers – Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky), and Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko). The sermons and articles contained within this book allow the reader to glance into the glorious past of our diocese.

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Foreword

   We hope that, in the future, when Holy Russia is resurrected, the history of the Russian Church Abroad as the guardian of Holy Russian Orthodoxy in the years of tribulations will be written. May this book serve as a modest reference for our Church

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Speech on the Occasion of His Elevation to the Episcopate

   If it were to happen to any one of us, that messengers might come to him from the king or some other mighty ruler, and informed him that the king had decided to don him with princely honors and make him his collaborator, how greatly would that man rejoice and be glad, joined in his rejoicing by his relatives, friends, and acquaintances.

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The Key to Spiritual Life

Many times over the course of our lives, each of us has seen how nature is bound and shackled by winter. We possess no power by which we might, through our own desire or will, free it from this imprisonment which binds it, as though with steel shackles

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The Gospel in the Church

Residents of large cities are almost never able to see the beauty of a starry sky. The light of the street lamps and the bright advertisements blot out the stars from them, and they appear faint and feeble.

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The New Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Brooklyn

   The Russian people have long demonstrated their unmatched proficiency in creating the churches of God. From the dawn of Russian history, first Kievan Rus, and then Muscovy, were adorned as though from heaven with tabernacles, in which the ephemeral reflected the beauty of the ethereal.

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Journey to the Holy Land

On March 11/23, 1964, on the feast of St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, with the blessing of our Primate, Metropolitan Anastassy, and accompanied by the well-wishes of my friends, I departed for the Holy Land and arrived there on March 18/31, on the feast of St. Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem. 

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The Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Resurrection

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Resurrection of the Lord in Jerusalem, where we headed immediately after a reception with His Beatitude, Patriarch Benedict, on March 18/31, 1964, located close to the Patriarchal headquarters, is the principal holy site in the Holy Land and the mother of all Orthodox churches

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The Lord's Tomb is the Source of Our Resurrection

   The holiest site in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Resurrection in Jerusalem – and in the Holy Land and in the whole world – is the Lord’s Tomb itself – that place, where our Lord Jesus Christ was buried for three days and resurrected from the dead.

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The Tomb of the Most Holy Virgin and Other Holy Sites and Historic Places

 After the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Resurrection, the principle place of veneration in the Holy City is the Tomb of the Most Holy Virgin:

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The Queen of Heaven and Earth

   We call kings and queens those who lord over life, the masters and administrators of life’s blessings. In calling the Ever-Virgin Mary a queen, we much clearly understand what blessings she controls and administers.

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He that hath ears to hear, let him hear! (The Parable of the Talents)

   The Parable of the Talents, as expounded by the Evangelist Matthew, is the last parable before the Lord’s sufferings. It ends with a warning: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!" (Matthew 25:30).

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The Church is the Source of Life

   "In confirming the common Resurrection, O Christ God, Thou didst raise up Lazarus from the dead before Thy Passion. Wherefore, we also, like the children bearing the symbols of victory, cry to Thee, the Vanquisher of death: Hosanna in the highest; blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord."

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Autumnal Feasts

 The wheel of time spins tirelessly on. Everything changes and everything passes. Those hot, stuffy days, when the scorching stones of the big city would bring exhaustion to its inhabitants, have departed from us. 

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St. Vladimir Memorial Church

 In 1938, during the celebration of the 950th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, the decision was made at the behest of Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) to mark this jubilee by erecting the majestic St. Vladimir Memorial Church

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Divine Service at the Walls of St. Vladimir Memorial Church

   The scorching sun in the torrid July days sinks below the evening horizon. A cool breeze blows, filled with the aroma of pine trees and green fields. It becomes easy to breathe.

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A Homily on St. Vladimir’s Day (1955)

 "Thou son of David, have mercy on us" – thus called out to the Lord two blind men, about whom today’s Gospel reading bears account, pleading that the Lord return to them that precious gift created by nature’s God: sight.

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Sermon of the Day of the Holy Equal-of-the-Apostles Great Prince Vladimir

Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee: As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is Life eternal, that they might know Thee the only True God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:1-3).

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