“We’re a peace-loving country and a very peace-loving, long-suffering people who have suffered from wars in a way that few European nations have. We have no desire for war or to do something that could harm others. But we’ve been brought up by our entire history to love our fatherland and be ready to defend it. . ."
Russia is a peace-loving country, but its people have also been reared to be ready to defend their homeland when necessary. And the historical fate of the Russian people may very well depend on this time that has come now, said the Russian Patriarch in his Sunday homily yesterday.
At the same time, “we have to do everything we can to stop the bloodshed and to avoid the danger of internecine warfare,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia preached at the recently built and consecrated Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ outside Moscow, which serves as the main church of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
During the Liturgy, a prayer for the speedy restoration of peace and petitions for those who “laid down their lives on the battlefield for faith and the fatherland” were offered in the presence of representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces, reports Patriarchia.ru.
At the end of the service, Pat. Kirill preached on the theme of St. John Climacus and his Ladder of Divine Ascent, and then turned to the military personnel.
“We’re a peace-loving country and a very peace-loving, long-suffering people who have suffered from wars in a way that few European nations have. We have no desire for war or to do something that could harm others. But we’ve been brought up by our entire history to love our fatherland and be ready to defend it as only Russians can defend their country,” the Russian primate said.
But there are forces today working to push the fraternal peoples of Holy Rus’ into destructive, internecine warfare, he added. Therefore, everyone must continue to pray for the fatherland, he exhorted.
The Patriarch’s words to the Armed Forces read in full:
I’m very glad that I had the opportunity today to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in this beautiful church, in the presence of our servicemen. Today our fatherland is going through a difficult time. Today, again, the name “military man” is associated not only with being in a peaceful state, but also with being on the battlefield. Fortunately, our fatherland doesn’t face the battlefield so often, but the arrival of young people in the Armed Forces who aspire to become officers, who strive to devote their lives to the defense of the fatherland, doesn’t dry up. And if in peacetime this can be explained by some privileges or material considerations, then in wartime service in the Armed Forces is a real feat, and we are experiencing exactly such a time now. The service requires readiness from everyone who has taken the oath to defend the motherland without sparing his life; and therefore, today our special prayer is for the Armed Forces, for our soldiers, with whom the hope for security, freedom, and true independence of our country is associated.
Today, the word “independence” is often applied to almost all countries of the world. But this is wrong, because most of the countries of the world are now under the colossal influence of one force, which today, unfortunately, opposes the power of our people. And since this is so, since there is a big force there, we must be very strong. When I say “we,” I mean, first of all, the Armed Forces—but not only. All our people should wake up today and understand that a special time has come, on which may depend the historical fate of our people.
That’s why I celebrated the Divine Liturgy here today, in this church—to meet first of all with representatives of our Armed Forces, to address them, and through them to our entire army, navy, and all defenders of the fatherland, so that they would realize the historical importance of the moment they’re experiencing. I want to say again and again: We’re a peace-loving country and a very peace-loving, long-suffering people who have suffered from wars in a way that few European nations have. We have no desire for war or to do something that could harm others. But we’ve been brought up by our entire history to love our fatherland and be ready to defend it as only Russians can defend their country.
When I say these words, I’m not giving any empty compliments at all. I’m starting from the history of our people, from the history of our Armed Forces. After all, we broke the backbone of fascism, which, undoubtedly, would have defeated the world if not for Russia, if not for the feat of our people. May the Lord help us today, so that we, being peaceful, peace-loving and modest people, would also be ready—always and under any circumstances—to protect our home.
Of course, when I say all this, I don’t cease to feel anxiety for all the people who live in the places where military clashes are taking place today. After all, all these are people and peoples of Holy Rus’, they’re all are our brothers and sisters. But, as in the Middle Ages, wanting to weaken Russia, different forces pushed brothers against each other, plunging them into internecine warfare, so it happens today. Therefore, we have to do everything we can to stop the bloodshed and to avoid the danger of internecine warfare with all its consequences. But at the same time, we must be faithful—when I say “we,” I mean, first of all, military personnel—to our oath and readiness to “lay down our lives for our friend,” as the word of God testifies.
…All of you, my dear ones—Your Eminences, fathers, brothers, sisters, servicemen, military leaders, our youth—I once again cordially greet and congratulate you on this Sunday and wish all of us to preserve the strength of spirit, the ability to pray for the fatherland and for ourselves, the ability to always maintain inner strength that can be translated into different situations, including multiplying the power of our Armed Forces. May the Lord preserve our land, our fatherland for many blessed years! Amen.
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