Christ is Risen!
Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Ten years ago, on 17 May 2007, during the Liturgy of the Ascension, at which the Act of Canonical Communion was signed, I stood in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour confessing. Among those confessing were senior military officials, in uniform, who had come to repent for persecuting the Church in Soviet times. They did not realize that they were confessing their sins to God in the presence of a priest from the Church Outside Russia. Never have I felt our unity so profoundly. It is from our mutual repentance, and both sides had to do this, that we took our profound unity and so could ask together for the prayers of the New Martyrs and Confessors. In particular we ask today for the prayers of the Royal Martyrs, whom we remember on this centenary of the tragic betrayal of the Russian Empire.
For decades I have belonged to the Church Outside Russia and have served her in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal and England, speaking for her in the USA, Australia and the Netherlands. For the Russian Federation is today only part of the Russian Orthodox world, of what we call Rus. Today, Rus is not only the Russian Federation, the Ukraine (despite the US-installed junta in Kiev) and Belarus, not only Moldova and Carpatho-Russia (Zakarpat’e). Rus is everywhere that the Russian Orthodox Faith is confessed, from Kazakhstan to the Baltics, from Japan to Thailand, from Germany to Venezuela, from Switzerland to Central Asia, from Italy to Indonesia, from Argentina to the USA, from Australia to England, from Canada to New Zealand. We too are Rus, together with you all.
In these latter times the Russian Orthodox Church has a worldwide mission to preach our common Faith without compromise, globally and in all languages, despite those who oppose us. Some of the greatest patriots of Rus belong to what Fr Andrei Tkachov rightly calls ‘our Church Outside Russia’. Our motto has always been ‘For the Faith, for the Tsar, for Rus’ and this is what our greatest saints, St Jonah of Hankou, St John of Shanghai and St Seraphim of Sofia, always proclaimed.
We are part of the Tsar’s Church, working in his spirit, for the Tsar-Martyr spoke five languages and built eighteen churches in Western Europe, desiring to see one built in each Western capital. (We still have one to build in central London in fulfilment of his desire). We in the Church Outside Russia are the outposts of Russian Orthodoxy, spiritual oases in an often hostile Western world. We are preparing, even in the West, for the coming Tsar of Rus. This is our unity. And our unity is our common victory!
Archpriest Andrew Phillips,
Parish of St John of Shanghai,