Voices from Russia

Saturday, 5 June 2010

On the Kulikovo Field, Patriarch Kirill Reminded Russians of the Need of Unity despite Political Differences

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev (1946- ) of Moscow and all the Russias

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias urged Russians to maintain their unity despite political differences. “Even if we have our differences as a nation in times of prosperity and peace, we must renounce all political preferences and political clashes when it comes to defending the Motherland and preserving the fundamental values of our national life”, the patriarch said on Tuesday, after the consecration of the Church of St Sergei of Radonezh on Kulikovo Field. Noting that the great achievements of the people were inconceivable without their unity, His Holiness pointed up that the Tatar-Mongol horde enslaved Russia precisely because of its divisions. In his view, the Church, just as it did a thousand years ago, “is conscious of its great responsibility before God for peace, harmony, and unity in our society. Sometimes we are asked, ‘Why don’t you support this or that political position, when your own voice is so weak?’ To these people, I would answer, ‘The Church is called upon not only to protect its own interests, which is, of course, necessary, but it must also protect and maintain the unity of the people, and reduce the level of confrontation between them”, the patriarch said. After the Liturgy, he led a procession to the column-monument to Prince St Dmitri Donskoi on Krasny Hill, where he blessed the battle flag of the 51st Airborne Regiment “Dmitri Donskoi” and served a brief memorial service for the Russian warriors who died for their country on the Kulikovo Field.

Patriarch Kirill noted the exceptional historical significance of the Russian victory in the battle on the Kulikovo Field. “The Battle on the Kulikovo Field did not end the era of the Tatar-Mongol yoke, but this battle proved to everyone that the mighty strength of Russia was like a powerful coil, capable of springing out and throwing back any opponent, and go on to win”, the Patriarch said, addressing the audience on the Field. In the view of His Holiness, the warriors of Rus on the Kulikovo field “did not fight to improve their economic well-being, they fought for their country and for their faith, because they knew that the [Tatar-Mongol] yoke could destroy the most important things… our faith, our national identity, and our Motherland”. Patriarch Kirill expressed regret that some attack such concepts as self-sacrifice, heroism, and love of the Motherland, they try to brainwash people into replacing such ideas with the notion that “none of the Russian peoples would ever have to defend the Motherland. Unfortunately, very often, a desire for material well-being clouds our vision, denying us a historical perspective of our national existence”, the patriarch said. He greeted everybody present in the name of the “great victory” of the Kulikovo Field, noting that this victory “settled the independence and historical existence of all the Russias (Руси)”.

The current pastoral visit of Patriarch Kirill to Tula Oblast is dedicated to the 630th anniversary of the battle on the Kulikovo Field. The laying of the cornerstone of the Church of St Sergei of Radonezh on Krasny Hill was held on 16 June 1913, the famous architect Aleksei Shchusev drew up the plans. Construction was completed in 1917, on the eve of the October Revolution.

1 June 2010




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