Sunday, February 8, 2015

The New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia

newmartyrs.jpgBelow is a video from the glorification service in honour of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, held in New York, 1981. The piety of both clergy and people is evident, and this pious attitude is what communicates the true Orthodox witness of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Without true piety, such glory becomes an empty shell, a show…

Through the prayers of the Holy New Martyrs, may we also attain to true piety. Help us to discern the subtleties of empty and vain “spirituality”!

Our Church dared to glorify the Holy New Martyrs. The Soviet-controlled Moscow Patriarchate was strongly opposed to such a glorification. To this day, many of the Saints glorified in 1981 by ROCA are not recognised as Saints by the Moscow Patriarchate.

The glorification in 1981 produced fruits. Piety flourished in the parishes. Many young people decided to abandon everything, enter seminary or monasteries, and dedicate their lives to God.

…unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…
Luke 12:48

Who would think, having seen such glorious services, with throngs of faithful attending, that the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad would again face persecution? Who would think that She would enter the catacombs, like the New Martyrs whom She had glorified?!

A glorification is not simply a formal action - a glorification of those Saints whom God already has made splendid, shining in Heaven. It is an announcement that means: “We recognise your path as the path to God. We also wish to carry our Cross and follow you to God.”

Sadly, only a few have stood up to this statement…A small minority, despite their obvious weaknesses, sins and failings, have found it impossible to overlook the struggle, confession, and witness of the Holy New Martyrs. They have found it impossible to call it a “historical problem, which is meaningless now”. Therefore they have chosen to remain with the ideals of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Others have instead joined the Moscow Patriarchate - that same “church” structure which persecuted these New Martyrs (!).

Before the 1917 Revolution, there was much external glory, but in the majority of souls there was no true commitment to God and His commandments. Many people were focused on physical comfort and glorious existence in this world. This state of spiritual poverty, which giants like St John of Kronstadt rebuked, was revealed in the first days of the Revolution. Many, many people made compromises with godlessness, and abandoned God…

Again, in 2007, many spiritual children of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad forgot the lesson of 1917 and confession of their parents, stated so clearly in 1981. Many people lost their vision of spiritual things, particularly in the comfort of the west, carried away with material wealth. They became fleshly…This easily happens to anyone who is not attentive…

Lord, have mercy!

This inner fall is described again and again in Scripture. All the people of God, until the end of time, will face this same test of spiritual genuineness. The enemy will always be deceiving people to devote themselves to materialism (Mammon), externals, and their physical life here and now…

Lord, help us to preserve the talent Thou hast given us through Baptism into Thy Holy Church. Help us to follow the confession of the Holy New Martyrs, who did not bow down to the antichrist even in his most subtle form… Forgive us our many sins and failings, and direct our paths, so that we may always carry our Cross, even in the subtle deception of our times, and thus reach full Communion with Thee - our salvation.

Read about the lives of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia

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Metropolitan Agafangel
First Hierarch of the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad

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Bishop John of Melbourne
Vicar bishop of Australia

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