November 8, 2022
On November 4, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow gave a homily focused on National Unity Day. We publish it, as a documentation of how difficult the common path towards historical reality is. It should be remembered that the primate supports the “special operation” as a means of restoring spiritual unity.
More than four centuries ago, with the liberation of the Moscow Kremlin, the rebirth of the lost internal integrity of our homeland began. Back in 1612, thanks to the joint efforts of our valiant ancestors, foreign invaders were driven out of the heart of the country and its full rebirth began.
Since, over the centuries, our people have faced many trials and overcome many difficulties, building a unique space of civilization, whose main reference values were love for justice, mercy, mutual respect and good relations with neighbors. And note well: there has never been any purely utilitarian purpose in this, much less political! No domination, no power, no money, just what pleases God.
Formed by the work of countless eminent sons and daughters of our homeland, Russian culture has long since gone beyond national borders, becoming an integral part of the common heritage of all humanity. Unfortunately, today we are witnessing the attacks of various Western countries that attempt to ban or exclude Russian culture from the world scene, whose fault, according to its critics, lies precisely in its traditional character, in its appeal to the fundamental qualities of the human soul, in his willingness to affirm the truth of God and to show the world the beauty and strength of Christianity.
The spiritual and cultural aggression against our country is by no means new. Perhaps its origins are to be found precisely in our spiritual originality. How can we forget here the subtle but powerful observation of our great thinker Nikolai Ja. Danilevskij, who drew attention to the fact that at the basis of the conception of human culture that characterizes Western Europe there is an identification of the destiny of European civilization with the destinies of all humanity, which inevitably leads to the forced imposition of Western values to other nations and the destruction of other traditions, with the final result of destroying all cultural diversity.
However, all this radically contradicts the foundations of our national civilization, for which attachment to unshakable moral principles, the preservation of historical memory and the profound respect for the spiritual traditions of other peoples have always been of primary importance. And after all, if this were not the case, there would never have been the great multinational, multicultural and even multireligious space of the Holy Rus’. Our great culture was built thanks to the efforts of many people who were part of different ethnic groups, who lived in different territories, but who always considered themselves as belonging to the one Russian tradition.
Today, in spite of all the forces that try in every way to sow discord and to make the fruits of hatred grow among the heirs of Holy Rus’, we will have to witness with one voice and one heart not only the unity of culture , of spiritual tradition and historical destiny, but also the unity of faith of all the Eastern Slavic peoples, which emerged in 988 from the only baptismal font in the Dnieper.
I well remember the day when we celebrated the 1020th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’, when in Kiev, on the Kreščatik, thousands of people loudly repeated the words of Saint Lavrentij of Chernigov: «Ukraine, Russia, Belarus: together we are Santa Rus’! ». It was a choir of thousands of people united by a single faith, a single national consciousness. How much strength our people showed then!
I am sincerely convinced that today the desire to divide the one people of historical Rus’, to put one part of it against the other, to sow hatred for our common past in the minds and hearts, is fueled by anti-Christian motivations, from the desire to eliminate the image of God from man, to subject people to the power of sin and vice, to make them simple subjects of the global market and consumers of material goods. The tragic situation that has arisen in Ukraine today is a vivid confirmation of this. And we cry, pray and hope that the Lord will grant his mercy to the Ukrainian people, and therefore to all historical Rus’.
It is necessary to realize clearly that the opposition to the destructive action of hostile forces, which destroy the spiritual foundations of our life, which subdue the souls of our contemporaries and seek to divide the peoples of historical Rus’ into national groupings, must be based first of all on obedience to the divine will, but also on the preservation of the interior unity of society, on love for God and for one another. In this lies the pledge of a worthy future for our people, and this is the only way capable of preserving unity, love, mutual understanding and legitimate cooperation between the peoples of Holy Rus’.
It is heartening to be able to testify that today the Russian Orthodox Church is gaining trusted collaborators in government circles and among representatives of other traditional religions in affirming imperishable spiritual and moral values in human life. Our sacred duty is to make every effort to preserve the priceless treasure of our spiritual culture and to lovingly heal the wounds of division.
May God grant us to continue to improve, thanks to our joint efforts, the life of our country, our state and our people, resting it on the solid foundation of the imperishable spiritual and moral values, which we absorbed with mother’s milk from our ancestors, from our faith, from our spiritual tradition. This is the foundation on which to build our national life.
Precisely for this reason today we pray and ask the Lord to preserve the unity of Holy Rus’, to preserve the Orthodox faith, to preserve in all of us the ability to live, to work, to build together a future that is truly based on those principles. gods of human existence, without which there can be no human prosperity. And all the rest, all that contradicts these principles may, by the power of God, be expelled from the borders of our historical homeland and cease to disturb and infect the souls of our people with its evil and dangerous content.
May God grant us all, that with His strength we can walk the historical path established by him for all our people, keeping faith in our hearts and therefore also hope in our salvation. Amen.
(opening photo: mon. Avgusta (Bol’šakova)
Kirill – patriarch of Moscow
(aka Vladimir Gundjaev) born in Leningrad in 1946. Ordained priest in 1969, graduated in theology in 1970. He taught dogmatic theology and for the decade 1974-84 was rector of the Theological Academy and of the Seminary of Leningrad, later archbishop of Smolensk and Vyazma, and of Smolensk and Kaliningrad. From 1989 to 2009 he headed the Department for External Ecclesiastical Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. Raised to the rank of metropolitan in 1991, in 2009 he was elected patriarch of Moscow and all of Rus’.
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