Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

18 April 2017. The Imperial Family… What They Were, What They Weren’t


The Imperial family aren’t “Martyrs” in the Church’s eyes… they didn’t suffer for the Faith. They’re “Passionbearers”… those who bore their suffering and deaths in a Christian manner. This isn’t a minor distinction. It means that the hoorah that you hear from certain ROCOR elements is pure BS. The Church doesn’t endorse monarchy… it never did… it doesn’t… it won’t. Individuals within the Church did… but that doesn’t mean that the Church “as Church” endorses and blesses monarchy. It’s just one of the many forms of human government out there. The Church DOES bless the Christian forbearance shown by the Romanov family. It says “amen” to that. However, that doesn’t mean that it approves of the system that they headed. If the Church called them “Royal Martyrs”, it’d give monarchy a boost, but the Church chose not to call them that. The ROCOR had to adjust its terminology at the Reconciliation… the Centre made it clear that “Royal Martyr” was unacceptable (it also made it clear that the ROCOR couldn’t canonise non-Orthodox just because the Reds killed them).

In this year of the centenary of the October Revolution, we’re going to hear much rubbish from the usual sources. I’d remind you that many of them had Nazi collaborators in their families… that doesn’t bother them. Puts a far different face on their rants, doesn’t it? Let’s honour the Romanov family’s faith and let’s fight the loudmouth anti-communists. After all, they gave succour and support to Hitler… what more need I say?



Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Patriarch St Tikhon on Vengeance


Today, many suffer resentment and frustration. They urge you to thirst for vengeance; they’d put a sword into your hands. Orthodox Rus would see carnage; people would see enemies everywhere. So far, what we’ve had is minor… a most serious test and agony lay ahead. However, never… never… deify or reach for the sword. Don’t do it. Don’t wish to wield it. Truly, in these current parlous days, to repay evil with good is a podvig* in Christ, a legacy and an exemplar for future generations, and an unsurpassed testament and blessing. You’ll build up the indestructible glory and greatness of our Holy Orthodox Church in the Russian Land and even her sworn enemies will call her Holy and laud the purity of the podvig of her ministers and believers. I wish mercy and peace on all those who can accept and follow this.

Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Epistle of St Paul to the Galatians 6.18

St Tikhon Bellavin

Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias


  • Podvig: Should NEVER be “Englished”… one of the most powerful words in the Russian language. There are literally no English equivalents strong enough. Podvig has overtones of “epic”, “heroic”, “bravery”, “self-sacrifice”, “victory”, “effort”, and “triumph”. It’s best to leave it as is, and admit that English lacks the necessary material to give meaning to this word.


To provide context, St Tikhon wrote this in 1919, at the height of the Civil War. I dedicate this translation to Vladimir Saemmler-Hindrichs, who passed yesterday as the result of a stroke. He was a man of good repute and character… although we often didn’t agree. I believe that he would’ve been as touched by this as I was…


Sunday, 19 March 2017

19 March 2017. Patriarch Kirill: “Anyone Can Become a Saint!”


I chose the illustration of the blacksmith for a reason. I find that many middle-class people (properly speaking, not working-class people with pretensions) believe that only they can achieve holiness. Interestingly enough, most saints were either aristocrats or peasants, with very few from the middle-class… the merchants and “professionals” were all-too-often fixated on money and position. Have a care with middle-class people… too many obsess on money and position. However, pray for them, as they have the most obstacles in the spiritual life. The rich and titled know that money and position aren’t what they’re cracked up to be and the working-class knows that they’re not going to get money and position. However, the middle-class is tempted the most by such… they’re almost hag-ridden by it in most cases. They’re the most hobbled in the spiritual life… so, don’t forget to pray for them, they need it most of all.


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

8 March 2017. Finding of the Relics of St Matrona the Blessed of Moscow


The wonder-working power of Matrona of Moscow was directly due to her suffering, to the endurance of her anguish as she bore her salvific and life-giving cross. May the Lord help us all; call upon the Holy Righteous Matrona, ask for her aid in solving your life’s problems. At the same time, ask her to fill your heart and your mind with the power of her example, with the understanding of what it means for you to carry the cross that God imposes on you.

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias

On 8 March 1998, Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger of Moscow and all the Russias authorised the uncovering of the relics of St Matrona Nikonova the Blessed of Moscow. This is the second holy day for this saint (the other is on 2 May, the date of her death). Today, her relics are in the Pokrovsky Stavropegic Convent in Moscow… one can venerate them every day from 07.00 until 20.00… on Sunday, the relics open for veneration at 06.00. Thousands of people daily come to Matrona to venerate her relics. Easily, she’s one of the most “popular” saints in Moscow. The fact that International Women’s Day and this holy day of St Matrona coincide is a coincidence, but a happy one.


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