Beloved in the Lord, most Reverend archpastors, all-honorable fathers, dear brothers and sisters!
On the feast of the beheading of the Baptist John, the Church prescribes strict fasting, so that, as the Scripture says, ” we do not become accomplices of Herod’s gluttony.” If king Herod had refrained from excessive wine drinking, which inflamed his pride and other passions, then perhaps he would have come to his senses and would not have given the order to cut off the head of Saint John, whom he himself revered as a righteous man.
Unfortunately, people often commit irreparable sinful acts under the influence of alcohol, while intoxicated, they do things that they would never allow themselves to do when sober. Such actions sometimes destroy not only their lives, but also the lives of others. Discussing this, Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk warns: “a drunken man is capable of all sorts of evil, goes to all sorts of temptations”.
As a reminder of the harmful consequences of intemperance and self-indulgence, the Holy Synod of our Church has decided to celebrate Sobriety Day every year on the feast of the beheading of St. John the Baptist.
Today, many people who suffer from various types of addictions are aware of their harmfulness and seek help from Church organizations, which are already more than six hundred. It is obvious that in the fight against addiction, not only medical technologies are needed. Changing of mind is one of the most important conditions that help a suffering person overcome the inertia of sin.
Through the prayers of the Baptist John may God help us to overcome passions and, on the advice of the Apostle Paul, “be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit, making melody in our hearts to the Lord” (Eph. 5, 19).
K I R I L L
PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA