Home page News
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Ve…

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great on Holy and Great Thursday.

Communications Service of the DECR, 21.04.2022. On 21st April 2022 on Holy Thursday, the day on which the Last Supper is commemorated, the chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate the metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion celebrated vespers and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great in the Moscow Church of Our Lady of the Joy of All-Afflicted on Bolshaya Ordynka Street.

Concelebrating with the bishop were the clergy of the church.

After the Litany of Fervent Supplication metropolitan Hilarion read aloud the prayer for cessation of hostilities in Ukraine.

At the end of the service the bishop delivered this sermon to the faithful:

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On Holy and Great Thursday, the Holy Church recalls the Last Supper, the final farewell meal of the Lord Jesus Christ with his disciples at which the Saviour, having partaken of the lamb of the Passover, gave to his disciples bread with the words: “Take, eat: this is my body” (Mt 26.26). Then Christ gave to his disciples a cup of wine and said: “Drink of this all of you: this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Mt 26. 27-28).

“Do this in remembrance of me” the Son of God commanded his disciples. After the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again, the disciples began to gather every Sunday to recollect his life, his death, his resurrection and in remembrance of him they again and again repeated the same Last Supper which Christ himself accomplished and the participants of which were his apostles.

Testimony has come down to us of how the Last Suppers were celebrated in the apostolic era. We know this fr om the book of Acts and fr om the epistles of Saint Paul. Acts tells us how Saint Paul once gathered the church community together and spent the whole night in conversation. As morning approached, Christ’s disciples broke bread and the Divine Eucharist was celebrated. Paul’s conversation was so long and evidently so tiring that a young man fell asleep as he sat by the window and fell out of it. And the apostle had to go down to the young man, resurrect him and return him back to the community.

Saint Paul, addressing the Christians, in one of his letters states that the same order is to be observed in the evenings and one does not come to satisfy one’s belly (I am conveying the ideas of Saint Paul in my own words) but to taste of the bread of heaven.

Originally, the Last Supper was celebrated as a common meal. The disciples gathered, as a rule, at nighttime. Why at nighttime? Because it was the time when they were free of daytime labours. Moreover, it was possible at nighttime to hide fr om the ubiquitous persecutors of the Christian faith. The disciples would gather, eat together, sing psalms together and tell stories fr om the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, retelling his teachings and parables. At this time there was no written text. The written text of the Gospels appeared only later; at the beginning all of this was circulated only in the oral tradition. Then the one who was senior at the meal would break bread in remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ and would offer a cup of wine to all those gathered with a prayer of thanksgiving.

Gradually Christ’s Church expanded and that which at first was a meal then turned into worship. The Church began to distinguish between usual bread and heavenly bread. By the second century we can read fr om the works of the Apostolic Fathers how the Last Supper was celebrated, and by this time it already was in the form of worship which was incompatible with a meal. People would visit this worship in order to be communicants of the holy mysteries of Christ and listen to the New Testament Scriptures, which by that time had already been written down on papyrus and circulated throughout the church communities in the form of scrolls and codices. The chief celebrants of these communities recounted stories from the Gospels so that people could learn about the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus the Church has lived for more than two-thousand years. And not only every Sunday, but also on weekdays the Divine Liturgy is celebrated in church and the faithful are invited by the Lord Jesus Christ to his Last Supper. The reason for this is that with the institution of the mystery of the Holy Eucharist the Church determined that the celebrant of the Eucharist is not the bishop or the priest, or any earthly person, but always and in all instances its Celebrant is the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is not dependent on how solemnly or beautifully the service is performed, whether in a majestic cathedral wh ere thousands of people come together, wh ere the choir sings beautifully, wh ere bishops and priests gather, or in a modest rural village church wh ere there is no liturgical pomp, wh ere the priest serves with only a handful of parishioners present and a couple of elderly women sing in the choir. The Celebrant of the Eucharist is always the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every time the Eucharist is celebrated, we hear Christ himself who says to us: “Take, eat: this is my body which is broken for you” (1 Cor 11.23) and “Drink of this all of you: this is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Mt 26.27-28). The Lord invites us to be participants of his Last Supper, calls us to be united with him spiritually and bodily through the mystery of the body and blood of Christ. For the Church believes that the bread and wine in the Eucharist is not simply bread and wine which the faithful partake of in remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ, but that this bread, which at the prayer of the priest and the church community, as a result of the power of the Holy Spirit which has descended upon it, becomes the body of Christ; and that the chalice of wine which at the prayer of the priest and the church community, as a result of the descent upon it of the Holy Spirit, becomes the blood of Christ. It is through this mystery that we are united with God spiritually and bodily. And it is the Divine Liturgy which grants to us this opportunity to be united with God.

But the Liturgy of Great and Holy Thursday has a special character, for on this day we recall how the Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist. We glorify the Lord for the fact that he has given to us that which is the greatest thing to give, that is, himself. And we partake of the Holy Mysteries of Christ with faith and hope in his divine mercy.

Yet let us recall too the words which we heard today from the epistle of Saint Paul to the Corinthians addressed to the early Christian community. These words also have meaning for each one of us: “For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 11. 29-30). Let us not neglect this warning of the holy apostle Paul.

Let us prepare ourselves to commune of the Holy Mysteries of Christ by cleansing our conscience through the sacrament of confession, by cleansing ourselves through prayer, repentance and abstention, and, if possible, through the fasts which the Church has prescribed for us. And with reverence and hope, and by inwardly preparing ourselves, spiritually and bodily, let us approach this great sacrament in which we taste of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Amen.


I congratulate you all on Great and Holy Thursday. May the Lord preserve you all.”

Minutes of the Holy Synod of 29th May 2022


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church


Patriarchal condolences on the death of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York


Patriarch Kirill: Our flock is both in Russia and Ukraine and we ardently pray for the restoration of peace


Commentary by the Communications Service of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate on the interview given by Pope Francis to the Italian publication Corriere della sera.


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s talk with Primate of Serbian Orthodox Church


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill celebrates Paschal Great Vespers at the Church of Christ the Saviour


Paschal Message of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to the archpastors, pastors, deacons, monastics and all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church


Holy Synod members discuss the issue of rendering aid to refugees and suffering civilians in Ukraine


Holy Synod considers it important that the Russian Church’s stance on the crisis in Ukraine be brought to notice of the heads of non-Orthodox Churches and inter-Christian organizations


Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church meets under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill


Metropolitan Hilarion: The main thing in a person's life is their relationship with God


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s address to the Supreme Church Council on March 18, 2022


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairing a meeting of the Supreme Church Council


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill had a talk with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby


First meeting takes place between the metropolitan of Volokolamsk Anthony and the workers of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate


Metropolitan Anthony: Growing manifestations of extremism threaten preservation of common Christian shrines in Holy Land


Handover of work responsibilities at the Department for External Church Relations


Appointments of new Сhairman of the Department for External Church Relations and new rector of the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute


Metropolitan Hilarion: Attempts to split up the Orthodox community in Lithuania are doomed to failure


Metropolitan Hilarion: Time and good will are needed for healing schisms


Metropolitan Hilarion: Attempts to forcefully rename the Ukrainian Orthodox Church result from an ambition to seize its church buildings


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been autonomous for over thirty years


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk concluded his working trip to Hungary


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk visited Hungary


Metropolitan Hilarion: The developments in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church should be understood in the context of unprecedented pressure put upon it


Metropolitan Hilarion: The unity between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is preserved


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church


Metropolitan Hilarion: Sooner or later a solution would be found about healing the wounds inflicted on the body of world Orthodoxy


Metropolitan Hilarion: Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus had sincerely wished to help when the Ukrainian schism was about to happen


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Vespers of Good Friday with the procession of the burial-shroud.


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great on Holy and Great Thursday.


Metropolitan Hilarion: the essence of religious life lies in the love for God


Metropolitan Hilarion: May the joy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world live in our hearts always


On Christmas Eve, Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Moscow church in honor of the icon of the Mother of God "Joy to All who Sorrow" on Bolshaya Ordynka.


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord calls every person to salvation in a variety of ways


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has commanded us to love every human being


Metropolitan Hilarion: on the Feast of the Holy Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos we glorify the heavenly intercession of the Mother of God


Metropolitan Hilarion: Many things in a person's life depend on faith


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Holy Spirit is the main treasure of the Christian soul


Metropolitan Hilarion: Holiness is a constant striving to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ


Metropolitan Hilarion: God does not want to condemn, but to save us


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord always grants to us the opportunity to display our talents


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has imbued the waters of Jordan with his divine presence to wash away human sins


Metropolitan Hilarion: to repent means to change your way of life


Page is available in the following languages

Fields marked by * are mandatory required

Send a message
Рус Укр Eng Deu Ελλ Fra Ita Бълг ქარ Срп Rom عرب