Sermon for St. Sergius of Moscow – Br. David Allen


[Lk. 8:16-21]

Sergius was born early in the 14th Century in Radinezeh, Russia, a village near Moscow.  It was a time of poverty and hardship in Russia brought about by war.  It was also a time of spiritual activity in the Christian World. It was the time of Dame Julian of Norwich and other Mystics in England, and Catherine of Sienna in Italy.

When he was 20 Sergius and his older brother Stephan began living as hermits in the deep forest near their home.

After a time Stephan moved to a monastery in Moscow, but Sergius continued to live in the forest as a hermit.  Learning of his deep spiritual knowledge other monks started to come to him for direction, and built their own cells.  Eventually they persuaded him to become their Superior.

Early in his time as Superior Sergius instituted a reform by asking the monks to come together for prayer and other activities.  There was some resistance to this.  For the sake of restoring peace Sergius went into exile for a short time.  It was not very long before the monks came to him and begged him to return as their Superior.

The news of Sergius’ accomplishments reached The Patriarch of Constantinople,   Philotheus, who sent him a monastic charter.  When Metropolitan Alexius asked him to become his successor Sergius declined.  He also declined appointment as Bishop of Moscow.  Sergius preferred to remain a simple monk. He was humble and gentle in nature, and mystical in temperament.

He was also generous towards others. He was eager to ensure that his monks should serve the needs of their neighbors. His devotion to the Orthodox Faith inspired many others to an equally intense faith.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that the purpose of a lamp is to be on a lampstand so that others can see the light that it gives. Inspired by the example of the faith of Sergius, may we show the light of God’s love, and let our faith be a guiding light to those whom we meet.

Sergius of Radinezeh
(14 May 1314 – 25 September 1392)




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  1. Fred Skey on September 25, 2019 at 06:12

    I would respectively suggest that the purpose of the lamp is not so much so that others can see the light but rather so that others can see the way. The light from the lamp shows us the way…how we should live and the values we should live by. The danger of focusing only on the light is that we might spend our lives looking at Jesus and never really understand his message and so move towards a transformed life.

  2. Evan Lassen on October 5, 2015 at 14:20

    Brother David,

    Could it be thought that maybe God has brought
    Rome a “Sergiustic” (to coin a phrase) quality to the Papal seat in Francis ? We shall see. If he has the
    foresight to take an initial step toward Ecumenical Reformation , if not him, Who ? Why not the Anglican
    Communion ? The Christan Church can look back and see reform taking place every 500 years or so and it is close for another 500 years having passed since the last happening. What say you ?

  3. Ann-Marie Montague on October 1, 2015 at 14:09

    Brother David, thank you for this meditation on St. Sergius! I hope you are doing well. While I miss being in Cambridge since I received my MDiv from EDS, I keep you and all the brothers in my thoughts and prayers.

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