In the last year this has changed, and many people have told us -- not only the old members of the congregation, but people coming from Russia have told us how disappointed they were at the change that had occurred here in the last couple of years.
People come into the church, and instead of standing by the door and realizing where they are -- being there like the publican who felt he was unworthy of entering the realm of God -- they enter, buy candles and begin to walk about irrespective of the moment of the Liturgy.
So, I not only make an appeal -- I tell you with all the conviction and all the authority vested in me, that this is inadmissible.
These people who come to church must come to meet the Lord God; and the moment you are within these walls, you are in the place where two or three are gathered in His Name and He is in their midst.
Unless you learn silence, unless you do not treat the church as a place where you can move about looking at icons in a distracted way, you never enter into communion with God; and in that case, there is no space for any one to come and receive Communion out of emptiness of soul.
So, be aware of this. Take my words seriously. If it is only if we learn to be deeply silent in the presence of God, worshipfully silent, silent before the greatness of the One who has died for us but Who has risen to give us His life, that we can take part in the Liturgy, in the prayers, and also in Communion.
May God guide all of us, not only lay people, but priests, servers, all of us, into that deep silence of the soul where we can commune with one another because we are all in communion with the living God. Amen.
+Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom)
November 6, 1994
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