When the people (народ) remember their moral revival under St Sergei, it makes political revival possible, as it renews the essential living rule that our political foundation is strong only if it sustains its moral force.
V O Klyuchevsky
Today, all Rus, the entirety of the Russian World, celebrates the 700th anniversary of the birth of St Sergei Radonezhsky, a prayer-warrior of the Russian Land, a great statesman, a key figure in our country’s history. It’s gratifying to know that thousands of pilgrims gathered in Sergiev Posad for the occasion, and millions of our fellow citizens pay tribute to and give respect to our illustrious compatriot in these days, as well.
His great faith and his continual service to others and to the Motherland played a key spiritual role in the victory of the united Russian forces on the Kulikovo Field; it made St Sergei a symbol of the Russian World, a personification of national revival and of the victory of light over darkness. The saint blessed Grand Prince Dmitri of Moscow before the battle, predicted his victory, and sent such warrior-heroes as Peresvet and Oslabya to fight in the campaign, who had taken monastic vows as Aleksandr and Rodion. However, when the prince hesitated whether to proceed to the Don, cutting off retreat, the Great Starets once again encouraged him to dare to do a podvig. He sent a letter blessing him to march to the Don, not to retreat, to dare…
Today, this call… “Don’t retreat, dare”… inspires us to fight for a revival in our divided motherland, surrounded by foes and beset by various sanctions.The battle with Mamai in the Don Land, at Nepryadva, wasn’t merely a struggle between the Horde and the Rus. The border wasn’t ethnic, it wasn’t religious; rather, it was moral and geopolitical.The men of Moscow, of Vladimir, of Suzdal, of Yaroslavl, of Rostov, from all of Muscovite-Vladimir Rus marched to the Kulikovo field under a Red Banner; they went forward under a red and gold banner with the image of the Saviour “Not Made by Hands”. Along with the men of Rus marched men from Lithuanian Rus… from Smolensk, Polotsk, and Bryansk. This combined army crushed not just the hordes of Mamai, it also brought low those Westerners, Genoese and Teutonic Knights, who fought under his banners.
It was a geopolitical confrontation, repeated many times later in Russian history. The balance of power on the Kulikovo Field resembles the current situation, where Good, Order, and Unity face Evil, Chaos, Aggression, and Adventurism. Now, destructive forces in Malorossiya and Galicia, the “temniks” with Euromaidan and Western allies, the New World Order gendarmes of the USA and Romano-Germanic Europe confront multinational Russia, insurgent Novorossiya, likeminded Belarus, and those Ukrainians who revere our common past.
However, St Sergei gave not only spiritual leadership in that great battle of ancient times; he still affects current times, after seven centuries of veneration. Peering into Russian history, into the very fabric of our national culture, we find that the remark of the philosopher Pavel Florensky is just… there isn’t a single thread that doesn’t lead to St Sergei, to this seminal source. Our moral ideology, our conception of statehood, our painting, our architecture, our literature, our schooling, our science… all these facets of Russian culture meet in St Sergei. In his personality, our people realised themselves… the nexus of our cultural and historical place, its essence, and its main tasks. Only then, realising itself, did it have a right to independence and greatness.
One can’t separate the concept of “Holy Rus” from the veneration of St Sergei. One can’t separate his name from his foundation, the Trinity-St Sergei Lavra, the most sacred site of the Russian people, the “spiritual fountainhead of our Motherland”. Through a new self-identity, the dying New Rome passed its genius to the young Russian people. St Sergei awakened this transition, in greatness of spirit and creativity, along with such like-minded saints as Aleksei and Kiprian of Moscow, Dionisy of Suzdal, Fyodor of Rostov, renowned podvizhniki and disciples of St Sergei, who founded a quarter of all Russian monasteries. These monasteries became centres of spiritual enlightenment, these podvizhniki enriched agriculture, construction, and crafts, laying the foundations of a mighty state. He bequeathed great selflessness, inspired service to the Motherland, spiritual elevation, and continuous moral improvement to our monastics and ordinary people… he became the intercessor for the rulers and people of the Russian Land. His hard work, patience, humility, purity of soul, and unfeigned love for all… he left his personal example to his monastic brethren and to his spiritual children.
This great Russian podvizhnik had a multifaceted life full of spiritual creativeness. Service, faith, and Motherland, the people and the state drove the life and deeds of St Sergei. St. Sergei’s “quiet and gentle sayings” could act on the most callous and hardened hearts, reconciling warring rulers, softened the manners of his spiritual children, “causing repentance without exasperation” (V O Klyuchevsky). “The hand of Sergei stretched out like a deep river, a quiet stream” (Epifany the Wise). Nevertheless, he was determined and adamant when the Motherland was in danger.
In a famous speech delivered over a century ago, The Meaning of St Sergei for the Russian People and State, prominent historian V O Klyuchevsky said, “One of the hallmarks of a great nation is its ability to rise to his feet after a fall. No matter how hard the humiliation, at the appointed hour, it’ll gather its scattered moral strength, and embody it in one great man or in a few great people who’d put it back on its temporarily-lost direct historical road… in bringing forth the memory of St. Sergei, we examine ourselves compared to his moral reserves. The great builders of our moral order bequeathed them to us, we update them, adding to them as we spend them”. We must do the same… check our spiritual roadmap, update our moral stock, replace incurred expenses, overcome spiritual schisms, comparing our historical era to our great ancestors and teachers. After all, historical fate sets before us a choice… we can stay in the marketplace of evil, or, we can flee from that, not retreating, to find solid ground in the works of righteousness and justice. Much serious effort lies ahead of us, but our great guide St Sergei Radonezhsky is with us, inspiring and enlightening us with the light of Goodness, Truth and Truth.
G A Zyuganov
Head of the KPRF faction in the RF Gosduma
Chairman of the KPRF Central Committee
KPRF official website
Let’s not dwell on things nor shilly-shally about. You may follow G A Zyuganov in the above text, or, you may follow Victor Potapov’s foolish attack on I V Stalin on the ROCOR official website. You MUST choose… you MUST choose one or the other. Your choice is between Orthodox Socialism and the Theomachistic Free Market (with its “Evangelical”/Mormon/Pentecostalist fellow travellers)… there’s nothing else on offer. You may follow G A Zyuganov, HH, V A Chaplin, and V V Putin… or you can follow Victor Potapov, Jonas Paffhausen, Chad Hatfield, Lyonyo Kishkovsky, and Michael Dahulich. The choice is yours… I can’t make it for you.