"The war has not just begun. The war is finally ending . . ."
Popular Russian author and priest, Fr. Andrei Tkachev, recently shared this homily online, and it has gone viral, already gaining more than 1 million views in just the first few days. An English translation of the transcript is provided below. We have published many other messages of his, which you can find here.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Christ is Risen! (Indeed He is Risen!)
I know, I understand, that we are going through a tough time, but since we are now at the liturgy, the first thing to say is that without prayer and without the divine liturgy, people will simply go crazy, always, in any time, in health or illness, in peace or war. And those who do not pray are gradually going crazy. Those who have gone mad are many more than those who are lying in the hospital, so stay in God's church and do not be afraid of anything.
All things are works of God, and He hasn't gone anywhere. He hasn't moved even a millimeter away from His work. We must continue to pray with hope, and say "Thy will be done," because we do not know and do not understand His ways.
A priest once told me — the best priest I have ever seen — a long time ago, back in the city of Lviv, Ukraine, he told me: "Son, one can go crazy without prayer." This is the truth. So the main thing is, don't go crazy, without prayer. For verily I say to you (says the Lord), many have gone crazy without prayer. And everything else follows from this.
What do we need to know? We can't avoid the questions that stand before us today.
The war has not just begun. The war is finally ending. And whoever doesn't recognize that it started a long time ago is just a bastard. It has been going on for 8 years, starting with Ukraine's "Berkut" officers, who were shot in the face with a double-barrel shotgun from five meters away. After two months of surgery, they came to my church with faces like something from a horror film.
Those were the first victims of the Maidan, the damned Maidan. It's the root and the cause of everything that is happening right now. You don't need to look for additional guilty parties. The Maidan and those who arranged it are to blame, whether across the Atlantic puddle, or those here on the continent who had to do with it. They are to blame, according to the judgment of the all-holy Word and according to spiritual laws. Time must pass between sowing and reaping.
You sowed 8 years ago, so now you reap. What did you expect?
If they had sown yesterday and reaped today, they would have been able to understand what they are being punished for, but since they sowed a long time ago, they have already forgotten. As King Solomon said, time passes between the sowing and the reaping. Therefore, the sons of men do not understand the meaning of the punishment.
Time passes between the deed and the result, between the good and the reward, between the sin and punishment, yet we forget and are in no hurry to correct ourselves.
But no one has changed the spiritual laws. Therefore, only those who did this are to blame. Only those who destroyed the beloved country where I personally lived are to blame. Those who just took the land out from under our feet, who agreed and received outside material help to make a parallel world on the borders of our country, and many of you don't even understand who or what it is. Therefore, be calm and know that God has not retreated a millimeter from His Church and His people.
Today we read about Sodom and Gomorrah. This was God's work. And the Lord knew how to save Lot. The Lord knows how to save his people. And He knows how to bring people to justice when they deserve it.
Notice that there will be a lot said about love these days. "Oh love, oh love!" "Oh peace, oh peace!"
From what is written in God's Word, man, by his cunning, chooses only what he likes. God's Word says to repent, but they do not repent. It says to be reconciled while there is still peace, but they do not reconcile. It says not to hurt the orphan, not to drive away the foreigner, not to harm the powerless, and so forth, but they do not listen. It says to pray to God day and night, but almost no one prays.
But we like the fact that God is Love! So we remember that statement, and we keep it as a shield in front of us. "He is love. He should love us." "Yes, He is love, so you should love everyone." With this word, love, they are trying to restore order in the universe.
But wait! That is not the only thing that is said in the holy scriptures. That is not the only name of God. God is Love. God is also the Judge. He is called the "God of Heaven's Armies", the "Lord of Sabaoth", and many other names. So, dear brothers and sisters, understand that God creates many great things which scare people.
And you always need to remember the fact that God is also terrible. We needed to know that yesterday. And even a year ago we needed to know that He is terrible. The Lord is great and terrible in his glory. The Lord brought a flood to the earth. This was the work of His hands. The Lord burned Sodom and Gomorrah, having compassion on none except Lot and his family. It was His work. And this is the same God who does not change.
The Lord armed Joshua the son of Nun to take the lands of Canaan after Moses, and that was the work of His hands. The Lord gave David strength to defeat Goliath, and that was the work of His hands. He called many people to war, and everywhere in history we see God's work.
Therefore, let's not dismiss the terrible truth by imagining love alone. The truth is very serious, but we try to hide behind love.
If nothing had been done, after two years they would have flown here, we would have been in danger, and no one would have spared us and warned us. And if they had come here, they would have sliced us up and covered the roofs with blood, as they had talked about before.
Russians never sang "Kill the Ukrainians", but we have heard many Ukrainians singing about killing us. "Carry the ammo, lay down the corpses, ta ta ta ta ta ... give me some ammo ..." I have been hearing this, and more, even longer than you have. Even when there was no hint of a war, they were already singing this and saying this. But we never sang such a song, and never will, because we are not fools. We are God's people.
These are our brothers, our native people, who have fallen into the teeth of a satanic dog. Some of them like it and live in it with pleasure, while others are under occupation and captivity. They are silent because they can't say anything. They'll come at night, drag you out of your warm bed, and chop you to pieces. Literally, not figuratively. Quite literally. Or they'll put you in some basement and torture you. You'll forget what your name is within a month. This is all very serious.
The war began 8 years ago. Those who do not recognize this are sinning greatly, and we are finishing it today. We have to finish it and do what our state says.
Our nearest neighbor, the land of our brothers and sisters, the land of St. Miletius of Kharkov, whose memory we celebrate today, the land of St. Dmitri of Rostov, the land of the Fathers of the Kiev Caves, the land of the great saints we commemorate every day and love with all our heart, this country has been intoxicated and captured, as we read in the Book of Revelation:
The harlot who sits on the waters, made the whole world drunk with the wrath-filled cup of the wine of her fornication. And she drank the blood of the saints, and desires to rule the whole world.
We read this from Revelation at every vigil. And we actually already entered these times a long time ago. Once I was talking to a certain priest, and I asked,
"Where are you?"
"What are you doing there?"
"We're filming a movie about the Apocalypse at the request of one of our hierarchs."
"Why do you need to film a movie about it? The Apocalypse is here all around, everywhere."
"Well yes, of course."
Who has forgotten this? And why should one forget about it? It is not necessary to forget it.
So, brothers and sisters, who can rejoice in a war? Only an unscrupulous person. War is a sorrow, a misfortune, it is a cross and a burden. It's worrying, it's tears, it's prayer.
But there are things that have to be done. None of us scolds a surgeon because he hurts the patient in order to heal him. And there are many more such things in life, which you may not want to do, but they're necessary. It's unpleasant but you have to. But perhaps it's not necessary? — But it is.
"But Shurik, perhaps it's not necessary?"
But it is necessary. — "It is, Fedya. It is necessary."
It hurts, of course, and it would have been better to do it some other way. But you weren't willing . . .
Christ told Jerusalem,
How many times I wanted to gather you as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings. I wanted to calm you and bring you peace, O people of God, but you didn't want it. Thus your house is left unto you desolate!
The Gospel is the most formidable book, but man adulterously changed this book into sweet fairy tales about "love", which he doesn't know and hasn't even approached.
The love of God was crucified on the cross. The love of God was in the grave and resurrected from it. The love of God will judge us. And even now, it already judges us. Like any conflict, any trouble, it will cut through hearts, through families, as it always happens.
Some will say, "What are you doing?"
And others will say, "Well, what did you expect?"
Don't you know that this has been going on for a very long time? And so much blood has already been shed over the past eight years. There will be all sorts of conversations about it. But people who are endowed with power and
strength must bring their work to the end. Shying away from it is no longer possible. Making a step forward and then moving back again won't work. They must continue to the end, to the logical end, to the complete conclusion of this swine-like outrage that began 8 years ago.
And we, the people of God, regular people, who may seem to have no influence on anything, we will have pain in our hearts, we will sigh in the inner places of our hearts, and we will take up our weapons.
We also have our own weapons, after all, which when necessary serve as bandages, as pills, and when necessary serve as a sword, as a bow. And these weapons are the Psalter and the Gospel.
Anyone who wants to influence a situation, any situation, should take the Word of God into his hands. And it is time to take it up. It is time. Lent is coming soon, and we really need to pray, and we need to weep. Take the Psalter into your hands.
Today we celebrate the Iveron icon. Those were also unpleasant times. But when were there ever pleasant times The iconoclasts were going into houses, taking away icons, chopping them in pieces, and throwing them in the trash.
This Iveron icon was carried away by water. It appeared on Mount Athos, and today we have a copy of it here with us. The main icon is on Athos, the Panagia Portaitissa. It came by sea to Athos, and by sea it will leave Athos, during the final hours of earth's history. There's nothing lighthearted about it.
There was a chapel to the Iveron icon near the Red Square. A miracle-working copy of the icon was there. The Bolsheviks came and ruined it. There wasn't anything lighthearted about that either.
Now it has been restored. A similar icon is hanging there now, and it is beautiful. Daily molebens are served there.
Glory to God for everything!
The holy body, the holy bones of Metropolitan Alexei lie in Yelokhov today. He lived at the time of the Mongols, St. Sergius of Radonezh, and St. Dmitry Donskoy, and he did not see a single lighthearted day. Not even one. Therefore, you should not be surprised that we do not live in paradise yet.
We don't call anyone enemies except the devil. We will pray to God and show concern for our brothers and sisters on both sides of the conflict. But as humble Christians, we will bow our heads to God's incomprehensible work, which sometimes makes painful changes in a man.
People deserved it a long time ago, but they pretend that they do not understand it. But actually everyone understands everything, and we know that they understand. And may God open the eyes of those who do not understand, because you cannot commit atrocities with impunity for years and years, and sing about it, laugh, joke about it, dance in blood, approve it, fund it, or anything else, and think that nothing will happen to you because of it, that you will get away with it. No, my friends. That never happens. It simply cannot happen.
Therefore, strengthen your hearts, arm your sprits, take up the Bible, cross yourself, and let's move towards Great Lent. May it bring peace to our souls and to the whole universe.
Tomorrow we commemorate the departed. This will be the Sunday of the Dread Judgment, and the Gospel reading for that is very timely. It's the last day for meat, and the following week is Cheesefare.
May the Merciful Christ forgive, have mercy on, cleanse, and strengthen all of His faithful ones by name, and the Lord knows His faithful ones.
Amen and glory to God.
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