“Wine maketh glad the heart of man” – these words have become an excuse for drunkenness

I went to preach for many years, but even at meetings in the deaneries heard the laughter and ernichane. When the priests gathered together for a meal, and then heard: “let’s drink the health of father Elijah, for the success of his business…” is it Possible to preach sobriety without irritating people and how to find the right words for the young, says the Archpriest Ilya Shugaev, rector of the Church of the Archangel Michael in the city of Taldom, Chairman of the parish temperance societies.

Photo: TASS

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September 11 was the Day of sobriety. Once upon a time, more than a hundred years ago, it was installed by the Holy Synod. Even earlier, everywhere began to appear sober. And Taldom, in the Museum there is a photograph of 1907, which depicts the opening on the arrival of such a society. Four years ago about a Day of sobriety in our country again remembered.

He was again installed, note. I do not think as some, that it is something imposed from the top, so fake, non-working. I think that this day is just another reminder to us all that sobriety and sobriety is a forgotten virtue in the Russian people that it is time to revive.

If you save your parents, then children can still be save

I am often to confession come women who complain about drinking husbands and sons. Sobriety and family – that is interrelated and intertwined.

I remember well the experience of his own family. Remember a happy childhood, before the age of five or six, and that was after the father took to drink. Five years later, he and my mom divorced. It was the collapse, disaster, the destruction of my children’s world. In the subconscious memory was sitting tight. Every time for confessions I discovered the reality of other people, I understood more and more what is a comprehensive and complex problem.

The beginning of the century was a time of some madness, its peak. The state monopoly on the sale of alcohol is removed and transferred into private hands. There was spooky stuff, a real mess. To seksprosvet added open propaganda of alcohol.

Then I met a temperance society and realized if parents can’t save the children though as-that to protect. Among them to sow the seeds of sanity, chastity, sobriety, as a Christian virtue. After all, if a person has spiritual sobriety, then it inevitably follows physical.

We have created a parish temperance society. The life and pastoral experience resonated with the situation in the country and I realized that many of the troubles we have from internal relaxation, slackness from the spiritual drunk.

The Priest Eli Shugaev. Photo: mepar.ru

“And let’s drink the health of father Elijah”

And so I went with this sermon for many years. And in the Church environment are often harder to talk about sobriety. Even at meetings in the diocese heard the laughter and ernichane. When the priests gathered together for a meal, and then heard: “let’s drink the health of father Elijah, for the success of his business…”

However, a few years later, one of those who is necessary me laughed, as the day came up and thanked me:

“You know, a teetotaler Neretvanska causes one reaction – irritation, – he said to me. – Someone will pretend to be more Holy, be contempt to look at drink. It always does. But what you never nadejalsja, not snapped in response, but was firm in his position worthy of respect”.

Preaching sobriety really causes the greatest resistance among the believers. Moreover, there is in our language and culture expressions. Some of them are direct quotes from Scripture. “Wine maketh glad the heart of man” – these words of the Psalm 103 we hear on every evening and they sit in our head. Even these words became a proverb accompanying the drinking of wine and vodka.

And when the Orthodox say about sobriety, he immediately called three or four arguments against it. Be sure to remember about the turning the water into wine in Cana of Galilee, and how the Apostle Paul advises the Apostle Timothy to drink a little wine, and Yes, the words of king David, where do without them?!

Remember how we with the blessing of the ruling Bishop of Bishop Juvenal traveled all over the diocese for a pastoral seminar about temperance work. In most cases everything went well but there were times when the lecturer, taking a little more instructive position, caused the clergy murmur: “What you vparivayut us?”

I sometimes even think that to convey the idea of sobriety much easier to unbeliever, without stereotypes. However, approval of sobriety – not anti-alcohol propaganda. This is not a story that can not be because harmful. This is not a preaching ban. It’s the idea that sobriety is good because it is virtuous.

Alas, the modern teenager today is not faced with a choice: to drink – not to drink, but before a choice: to drink a lot or drink a little. The term “sober” is associated with something negative and dangerous. “And you don’t drink, maybe you’re a recovering alcoholic? Or ulcer? Maybe you cultist freak…”

But sobriety is not when not, and when, and do not want and do not need when you don’t need external stimulants for joy when the internal problems and conflicts are solved without psychoactive substances. Sobriety isn’t a hangover when drunk and no longer, sobriety is a happy and cheerful condition of the body, soul and spirit.

I’m not an idealist, I realize that a sermon on temperance as a Christian virtue can bear fruit tomorrow or the day after. Short-term response can only be to restrictive measures. But I hope that the children of those to whom I preach today, in the heart of the thrown grain will be better.

I think I need here

The upbringing I had Soviet. With the pioneer and Komsomol times, it was the desire to work for the happy future, to be useful, to serve the common good. While studying, naively believed that human happiness consists in scientific and technical progress. I was sure that it may even have to implement yourself in this, so later he entered the MIPT.

True in 1984, and learned I was in ninth grade, it was sometimes to listen to the BBC and “Voice of America”. Long time ago gave way to political unrest, here comes the restructuring, the country does not understand what is happening. I want to understand, and not discuss with anyone. And here I am listening to “Voices” and suddenly happened upon religious transmission.

Only that we curse, and then seemed to move into another dimension, where there is calm, peace and some inner stillness. Suddenly stopped listening to the political subdivision, to focus solely on the religious. But only in the first year, when my grandmother died, my sister in secret from my mother was baptized.

Remember over the winter session. Lying on the couch, resting on the wall look, where at that time I had Orthodox calendar. January 18 blessing of the waters. “Oh – I think – I think I’ll go to the temple.” Come, and there is a crowd, one can not go. Going to turn around. “Well, no luck – I think – will not break here”. Suddenly the old lady some kind of swoops down, grabs the hand with the words “good of you to come, will help.”

Drags me through this dense mass of humanity right in the center of the temple. Put to one little man, with whom we held back the crowd during and after the service. We were standing: a party of people run, another hold, another start, a new restrained. I stood and thought I was the only one: “so many people, and no one to help, so many men work and men not. I think I need here”.

Gradually I gave up on science as a source of happiness for mankind. Wanted to leave the Institute, but the Confessor dissuaded, told that the initiated should be brought to the end.

I remember my supervisor at the Institute, said that “probably will not graduate…” “you’re crazy! Such work is done. A diploma is always useful. Well, maybe only in the Seminary is not useful…”, – told he. And I answered him: “I’m in Seminary and gathered.” He laughed, didn’t believe, then just very surprised, understood, accepted.

The Priest Eli Shugaev. Photo: ku66.ru

To help those who are not in a hurry to help

The Seminary has made a big impression on me. When you live in the parish, you’re the first guy in the village. Young enough of all the jumping around, groaning “Oh how you’re clever, Yes, how nice, you’re our hope, you’re happy.” And the person shifting beliefs about yourself. In Seminary, I saw a lot of great people who spiritually were many heads above me. I plunged into a new world for yourself, to understand where to grow. No doubt, how to live, not exist.

For 25 years I already throbbed with the thought that I was ready for marriage, I have a need to realize themselves in the fatherhood, in building a small Church, but most importantly – in the service of the Church of Christ. I have power to the first and the second.

Twenty-five years of marriage late, of course, but I began to look at the girls. In Seminary, I sang in the mixed choir, the seminarians sang the girls from Regent school. The rehearsals communicated with each other. One of the girls sunk into the heart. I felt that she was close to me in spirit, views. She had already finished school and now had forever to go to Krasnoyarsk. I realized that you can miss out on the opportunity to connect his life with her. In the first year of the Academy, in 1997, we got married.

When we arrived in Taldom, where the population is barely 15 thousand people, where they live in a large village she grew up in a big city with millions of inhabitants, long accustomed, but didn’t cry. And when children were born, also without provocation left the Regent’s service, and switched fully to a family.

And when all six began to grow, and we had a feeling that begins relaxed, although the strength and desire to nurture and raise children is still there. We felt that we learned something, though, and understand that we have a lot of shortcomings as parents. When a small child runs around the house – a special atmosphere. Here we have the feeling that something is missing in our house, or rather someone.

Conversations started: what is missing? I realized that not enough children. Discussed, decided. Besides, got to wave at our parish. Many friends began to take foster children. We contracted. Passed PDS. His six took three adopted. Immediately we decided to take not one, but siblings, because they are taken less often, people are afraid. So our goal was to help those who are not in a hurry to help. Went to local kids.

While we were thinking whom to take, the Lord has sent us to children. In one family revealed the case. Mother with alcohol problem has left four children alone in the apartment. Started the procedure of withdrawal and the child was in the hospital. It urgently needed to arrange in the family.

Mom gave time for reflection that was treated, got a job, but it is this opportunity not taken advantage of. Then came two children, whose fate had to be addressed urgently. Parents deprived of parental rights. They both went to jail and my children couldn’t cope. So we left, took someone.

Young people need to love

To produce misery! This condemning and contemptuous phrase, thirty, ten years ago, it was still in the air. And if not voiced, it is assumed by many. But many years ago, I thought to myself with this stupid stereotype to be overcome, not only by his own example.

In the late 90-ies I started to go to schools to give lectures on the family. First time, then systematically. I wanted to tell the teenagers about what love is, what family is, including rather strange to debunk negative perceptions about large families.

I was terribly hurt that specialists in physics and mathematics are unit, although the physics and mathematics study, and all 11 class, and marriage will be everything, but this topic is not taught in schools. About family life at school a little of what is right and valuable then said.

I went to school and in about a month I read a series of lectures. Sometimes I put the lessons instead of the sick teachers, but most teachers themselves gave their lessons, understanding the importance of family education for children. School Director blew calmly, and the children took me.

In adolescents there were no provocations and attempts to disrupt the lessons, and I tried. Came up with discussion topics, invited interlocutors. Girls, of course, always listen much more carefully. Boys usually psychologically younger girls, but I protest they never called.

I learned long ago: young people need love and need to love to communicate with them. With teenagers it is impossible to say from the top down, you should respect their opinion, you need to avoid dialogue and no “I’m smart and you’re stupid” will not work. Any meeting should become a joint meditation. Five years later, in 2007, from the lectures I compiled the book, which had several editions.

I realized that if you say the right things, then they are in resonance with what is written in children’s heart. Around them and from television, they see some models of family behavior, but it doesn’t suit them, and suddenly they the priest says about love, purity and chastity, and it coincides with their internal understanding of true love.

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