"Remember, brothers, that the freedom, independence, self-sufficiency and independence of our Fatherland, from the most powerful forces that today practically rule the world, but do not rule our country, and hence all the problems. . ."
Note the khaki green and gray colors of the interior of Russia's new Cathedral of the Armed Forces.
On Sunday, May 8, 2022, the day before WW2 Victory Day, the Head of the Russian Church, Patriarch Kirill, gave an extraordinary homily on the connection of a nation's spiritual life and its military exploits. He was serving morning services at the newly built Central Cathedral for the Armed Forces, in a suburb 1 hour south of Moscow. (More info about this unusual cathedral below). We strongly recommend watching the whole sermon, it is fascinating. (English captions can be turned on in the video settings)
At the 10.17 mark he appealed to Russia's armed forces, and told them that the current conflict was literally a matter of whether Russia would be free, or lose its freedom to the "powerful forces that rule most of the world". He went on to say that it was this struggle for control over Russia which was at the heart of the current military conflict. He stressed that Russia is acting purely defensively, defending itself from aggression from these "world centers of power". He stressed that in contrast to these powers, Russia does not seek to capture or occupy anyone, and does not seek to exploit them economically. He emphasized again that Russia was defensively fighting for her freedom from these forces which are trying to destroy Russian independence.
Here is the excerpt:
"I would like to appeal to the servicemen who are present here, and through them to our entire army. Remember, brothers, that the freedom, independence, self-sufficiency and independence of our Fatherland, from the most powerful forces that today practically rule the world, but do not rule our country, and hence all the problems.
May the Lord enlighten all of us - the army, the people, the youth, the elderly, our intelligentsia, and the workers, and those who work in the countryside - and help us to realize what an important historical moment we are going through today, how our army, navy, all our armed forces need our prayers and our support. How we should be all together today - not threatening anyone, not attacking anyone, but being absolutely ready to repel any aggression against our people and our country. Let the feats and examples of our great commanders - Saints Alexander Nevsky and Dmitry Donskoy, the wonderful military leaders Suvorov, Kutuzov, Nakhimov, Skobelev, Marshal Zhukov and the whole brilliant galaxy of Soviet marshals, who in many ways ensured the victory over Nazi Germany - inspire our army today.
And here's something else I would like to say. Russia does not wish harm to anyone, does not want to capture and occupy anyone, does not want to drain resources from anyone, as most of the rich and strong countries of the world do, economically occupying weak and helpless countries. We do not need all this, we are self-sufficient, but we need only one thing - our true freedom, our independence from these world centers of power, which today, unfortunately, are becoming hostile to Russia. We must consolidate all our strength, both spiritual and material, so that no one dares to encroach on the sacred borders of our Fatherland."
About the Central Military Cathedral
The cathedral, completed in 2020, is a striking example of the close connection between Russia's Christian identity and its military past and present. Western critics see the cathedral as glorifying militarism, whereas in Russia it is seen as paying homage to military sacrifice, and giving spiritual strength to present and future military. It has been written about extensively in the media. Here is a good article in the Guardian, good images at RBTH, and the cathedral's own site. Whatever you think of it, the building itself is very militaristic in style - mostly because its dark green metallic exterior and khaki green and gray interior evokes the colors of military equipment. We highly recommend visiting it. It is extraordinary, and pictures of it do not do it justice.
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