St. Peter of Kiev and Moscow was at the helm of the Russian Orthodox Church in the most painful historical moment, early in the 14th century, when our land was trampled underfoot and pillaged by the Mongol nomads. Capital city of Kiev was in ashes, and the ruling Metropolitan moved his See to a small and modest town of Moscow.
From that time on, the Principality of Moscow began to gain power and eventually led the whole country to freedom and independence, from a set of scattered rural tribes to nationhood.
On September 6, when the Church observes the memory of Metropolitan St. Peter of Kiev and Moscow, Patriarch Kirill celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Moscow Kremlin where St. Peter was buried nearly seven centuries ago. In his sermon the Patriarch said:
"[T]his act of St. Peter was providential: the city of Moscow, though it was twice conquered by foes, never bowed before the enemy and never gave up her place as the capital of Russia. Moscow has been an of courage, resolve, love of Christ, love of the Fatherland, and love of the Church. Even today, this majestic Cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the main cathedral of Holy Russia, built according to the saint's plan, bears witness to the great deeds and amazing insight of Metropolitan Peter, who established here his See.
Today, just as in the days of St. Peter, we are threatened by many dangers. Back then it was nomads who attacked the land of Russia, robbed it, killed people, and destroyed the economic opportunities of the country; but even today, as we all know, there is no peace on the Planet Earth. And a very special ministry, undoubtedly by the will of God, is now entrusted to this city and to our country.
Indeed, Russia is capable to resist alien, godless, anti-Christian forces. Those forces which aim their sting at human hearts, so that we lose our ability to tell good from evil. Gone from the political vocabulary is the concept of sin: they enforce a new model of behavior, claiming that good is what they please. But when so-called civilized world, by and large, picks up this idea, Russia, just as in the past times, has the guts to disobey. We must stick to the notion of good and evil, not from political interests or someone's ambition, but from that moral law which God has placed in our souls, in the human nature.
God grant that the Mother City of Moscow may remain an island of freedom in this turbulent world, to lead the world in resistance to any attempts of muddling good with evil, and to make sure that virtue and sin are called their right names. May God grant that the Christian Orthodox faith, our love of the Fatherland, our resistance to foes, both visible and invisible, ever gains strength.
Then we remain alive as Christians, and our Fatherland remains free and independent. And if so, the hope for salvation remains likewise."
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