Hardly a day goes by when the head of the Russian Church, Patriarch Kirill, doesn't make some public statement regarding the Ukraine war. Despite relentless and harsh criticism in the globalist media accusing him of giving moral support to the side which is in the wrong, Kirill refuses to back down, and instead, doubles down on explaining to his Russian flock, and the world, that it is Russia which is in the right from a Christian and humanitarian viewpoint. The longer this goes on, the more popular and well-known the Patriarch is becoming outside Russia, particularly in the West, where there is so much media focused on him, but also worldwide, especially in the emerging South. Inside Russia, he has emerged as a critical voice rallying the population and addressing their worries related to the conflict.
Today's example come from a homily he gave this past Sunday at a tiny church in a suburb of Moscow called Peredelkino. During Soviet days, the state gave comfortable country houses to state-approved authors in this neighborhood, and 100s of famous Soviet writers, movie directors, musicians, and other personalities from the arts are associated with it, - Boris Pasternak, film director Andrei Tarkovsky, Evgeny Yevtushenko, Kornei Chukovsky, and many, many more. Three generations of Soviet literature and art emanated from this small area.
Partly due to that past prestige, the area today is very affluent, with wealthy Moscovites building large suburban homes in the area. Part of that wealth is reflected in a remarkable church complex, images below, where the Patriarch performed a liturgy, followed by a short sermon. In contrast to Protestant practice, the sermon is not the centerpiece of a service, rather comes at the end, and is usually quite short, 10-15 minutes.
In his sermon, (Russian text) the Patriarch continued a theme that is widespread in Russia, amplified by the mainstream media, that the 'Russian World' covers Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and that this is essentially one nation, one ethnicity united by language, faith, culture, and history, and that the divisions and conflict currently dividing it are artificially manufactured by Russia's globalist enemies who are trying to destroy her. In fact, these three territories were part of one country during Tsarist times, and during the USSR, and throughout both the Tsarist and Soviet eras thought as themselves as one people.
This is the diametric opposite of the globalist media narrative, that the Ukraine is a separate ethnicity, country, and people, a false narrative deliberately contradicting the facts. The Patriarch specifically described the current conflict as a 'civil war', which it undoubtedly is. The main point of his sermon was that civil wars sometimes create lasting hatreds between peoples of one nation which last for centuries, and that only the shared Orthodox Christian faith of the fighting sides can protect them from this hatred becoming entrenched.
From the sermon:
The war that is currently taking place in the vast expanses of Russia is a civil war. It is so important that this battle does not result in a wave of bitterness and alienation; that the fraternal peoples are not divided by an impassable wall of hatred. And how we all behave towards each other today, what we ask of the Lord in our prayers, what we hope for — will largely influence not only on the outcome of the battles, but also on what will happen as a result of all this. May God grant that the current military actions do not destroy the single spiritual space of Holy Russia and, moreover, do not harden our peoples. That all wounds may be healed by the grace of God.
The full text of the sermon in English follows below, and we recommend reading it in full, as it gives a sense of how these events are understood in Russia. The Patriarch is renowned and popular in Russia for his ability to give sermons and speeches, often extemporaneously, without notes, speaking in complete paragraphs without conversational fillers. All of his public addresses are posted on many internet platforms, and are widely watched and listened to in Russia and around the world.
Here is a video of the sermon, (Russian only) showing the intricate interior of the small church in which the Patriarch spoke:
Here is an interesting video of a service the Patriarch performed the next day at his usual Cathedral in Moscow, the Christ the Savior Cathedral:
Here are images of the extraordinary church complex, all recently built with private funds, where the Patriarch spoke:
The main Cathedral with statues of Igor of Chernigov and Patriarch Hermogen:
The interior of the cathedral:
The skete (a small church) on the territory of the complex:
Interior of the skete:
Administrative buildings in the complex:
Full text of the sermon:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). To death! The only begotten Son, the divine Son! And why was this terrible divine Sacrifice required, the extent and significance of which cannot be grasped by the human mind? Almighty God gave Himself for execution, which was used to execute criminals, outcasts of human society, who had indeed committed terrible, dangerous crimes.
When one considers this unspeakable divine sacrifice, it is difficult for the human mind to grasp the whole divine plan. But it is clear that the Lord does not give Himself, suffers and dies in a human way for something that would be completely incomprehensible to us and inherent only in Him, who has immense knowledge of Himself. He enables us to understand that if God, in His Son, gives His human life for the sake of others, for the sake of the human race, then sacrifice is the highest expression of man's love for his fellow human beings. Sacrifice is the greatest manifestation of the best of human qualities.
We know that today many people are dying in the fields of internecine warfare. The Church prays that this battle will end as quickly as possible, so that as few brothers as possible will kill each other in this fratricidal war. And at the same time the Church is aware that if someone, moved by a sense of duty, by the need to fulfill his oath, remains faithful to his calling and dies in the performance of his military duty, he is undoubtedly committing an act tantamount to sacrifice. He sacrifices himself for others. And so we believe that this sacrifice washes away all the sins one has committed.
The war, which is now taking place in the vast expanses of Russia, is a civil war. And that is why it is so important that in the result of this war not a wave of bitterness and alienation arises, and that the brotherly peoples are not divided by the impassable wall of hatred. And the way we all behave towards one another today, what we will ask the Lord in our prayers, what we will hope for, will to a large extent determine not only the outcome of the battles, but also what will happen as a result of all this. May God grant that the present hostilities will not destroy the united spiritual space of Holy Russia and all the more harden our peoples. That by the grace of God all wounds may be healed. In order that, by the grace of God, all that today brings grief to many and many people will be erased from memory. That what replaces the present situation, including the relations between our brotherly peoples, may be bright, peaceful, and joyful.
And this can only happen if we live with faith in our hearts. Because faith destroys fear, faith enables mutual forgiveness, faith strengthens relationships between people and can indeed turn and transform these relationships into brotherly, cordial and good. God grant that it may be so, that all that now darkens the souls of many may come to an end. God grant that as few people as possible will be killed or maimed during this internecine strife. God grant that there be as few widows and orphans as possible, fewer divided families, fewer broken friendships and brotherhoods.
The Church, which carries out its pastoral ministry among the peoples of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and many others in the expanses of historical Russia, today suffers and prays especially for the speedy ending of internecine strife, for the celebration of justice, for the restoration of fraternal communion and the overcoming of all that, having accumulated over the years, led in the end to a bloody conflict. We believe that all the saints who shone forth in the land of Russia - in this case, using the already accepted expression "in the land of Russia," we mean Russia, the entire Russian land, Holy Russia - today together with us offer their prayers to the Lord that peace may be established in the land, that there may come reconciliation of the fraternal peoples and, most importantly, that justice may prevail, for without justice there can be no lasting peace.
May the Lord protect all of us and help us all to walk our Christian path with dignity, despite the difficult circumstances of life, which today is the reality of our earthly existence. Through the prayers of the saints, whose names we praised today, may the Lord help us all to be strengthened in peace, love, conciliarity and purity.
End of text.
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