Homily on the day of the Preeminent Apostles Peter & Paul – St. John of Kronstadt

10:33 PM

We magnify you, o holy preeminent apostles Peter and Paul,
who have enlightened the whole world with your teachings
and brought all the ends of it to Christ

The Lord worthily exalted the names of the holy Apostles throughout the universe:  for they were the disciples and fellow labourers with Christ God, the ones who enlightened the entire world with their teachings, the world that was in darkness and in the shadow of death, they brought countless souls from the worship of idols to the knowledge of true God and from dishonour to righteous life, they lived on earth in a heavenly manner, like bodiless angels, having disdained all earthly things as corruptible and temporary, vain and sinful; they worked innumerable miracles, undertook unbelievably great labours, and finally gave their souls for the faith in their Lord.  These, in general terms, are the merits of the holy Apostles, and especially of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

Unto us, the unworthy ministers, the Lord has bestowed the calling and the ministry of the apostles; therefore our work, even as theirs was, is to teach and enlighten the people, committed to our direction, that they may live in a manner worthy of the Christian calling, that they may work out their salvation with fear and trembling, that they may correct their hearts and characters, that they shy away from the passions that war against the soul, that they live piously, honourably and in a holy manner, waiting for the Lord to come from the heavens to judge the whole world.  All the people in the world chase after gain, some out of need, others out of habit, on account of passion; our work is not to chase after gain, not to collect perishing riches; our work, our gain is the salvation of human souls, redeemed by the blood of the Son of God, and our own salvation. And woe, woe unto us, if we chase after gain as did Judas the Iscariot. Then we will destroy both ourselves and the souls committed to our care by God: for how can the priest, will he want to save souls if his heart is occupied by gain? He knows only the value of money; he doesn’t know, with his heart he doesn’t know, he doesn’t feel how precious is the salvation of the soul; salvation for him is an empty word. The one that doesn’t care for his own salvation, will he care for the salvation of others? No, he will not. That is why the apostles of Christ considered all earthly things to be dust, while the salvation of souls they considered to be their main task. Oh, how they loved people, and how they loved people’s souls redeemed from the eternal curse by such a great price, by the blood of the Son of God! They loved them with the love of Christ, teaching every person with tears day and night. Read the letters or the epistles of the apostles where they preached the word of God to the residents of the various cities or to specific individuals; you will see what hot, burning, divine love permeated and inflamed their hearts! In truth, what can be more precious than the salvation of the human soul, which is the image and likeness of the immortal God! The entire world is worth less than one soul. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26

Thus, my brethren, most of all take care for the salvation of your souls that are perishing in their sins. The time of the earthly life is short, while eternity has no end; at the same time the end of our life is unknown. Make haste to entreat God with repentance, contrition of heart, and correction of life. You, o holy preeminent Apostles Peter and Paul, do we entreat, pray for us to our God, that the Lord direct our hearts and thoughts toward salvation, that He may soften and confirm, that He may have mercy and save all of us. Amen.