Category Archives: Holiness

The Russian Orthodox Émigré Contribution to the Future World Orthodox Church

A few years ago the now Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov asked us the question: What distinctive contribution can the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) make to the Church inside Russia? Here is my answer to him in the light of the most recent events:

Our Orthodox Christian Faith is Trinitarian: God the Father, Who is the instinctive knowledge of the existence of God, God the Son, Who represents the Incarnation of the Faith in all human affairs on earth (as denied for a thousand years by the Western world), and God the Holy Spirit, Who sanctifies all the nations who accept Him. This Trinitarian knowledge has always been expressed in the Russian Orthodox words: ‘For the Faith, For the Tsar, For Rus’. This motto was in turn expressed in recent history by the three ROCOR Saints, the Three Saints of the Emigration:

‘For the Faith’ was expressed by St Jonah of Hankou (+ 1925), the first ROCOR saint. Fleeing as a refugee with the White Russians and absolutely faithful to the fullness of Russian Orthodoxy, within a very short time of becoming a bishop at a very young age in Manchuria, he established an orphanage, a school, and a dining hall for the poor. Thus he combined the love of the Liturgy with practical love for our neighbour, as the Gospel calls us to do. This is indeed the essence of the Orthodox Christian Faith.

‘For the Faith and for the Tsar’ was expressed a generation later by St Seraphim of Boguchar (+ 1950). He expressed the values of Russian Orthodoxy in his writings and was also the great defender of Orthodoxy against both the heresies of the renovationist Paris School in the 1930s and ecumenism, notably at the Inter-Orthodox Council of Moscow in July 1948. He asked: What is the role of the Tsar? He answered that he is the incarnation of the Faith in the life of the State, in social, political and economic affairs. This is why we await the coming of the next Tsar, the White Tsar, whether he is a man of piety, or Christ Himself in His Second Coming.

‘For the Faith, for the Tsar and for Rus’ was then expressed by St John of Shanghai (+ 1966). The first ‘universal saint’, as he has been called, he lived all over the planet and celebrated the Liturgy and preached in many languages, extending the understanding and practice of ‘Rus’ worldwide far beyond East Slavdom, which stretches from Slovakia to the shores of the Pacific. Now we talk about American Rus, Australian Rus, English Rus, French Rus, German Rus, Irish Rus, Peruvian Rus, Swiss Rus. Wherever, worldwide, there is the uncorrupted Christian Faith of the Russian Orthodox world, there is Rus.

Some in Russia would say that this is what they have always believed. True, but the emigration expressed it with a refined purity and much extended significance, all of which became possible only after the catastrophe of the 1917 Revolution.  All three saints together, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, completed their lives on three different continents: St Jonah in China in Asia; St Seraphim in Bulgaria in Europe and St John in San Francisco in North America.

It is this, the global reality of Rus, which the Church inside Russia is now learning from us. Once captive inside the mental borders of the Soviet Union, the multinational Russian Orthodox Church has recently established a Western European Exarchate and a South-East Asian Exarchate, becoming ever more deeply the Church of Eurasia. Now, with the long-expected apostasy of Greek Churches, far too weak to stand up to corrupting American pressure, there has appeared the possibility of setting up a Turkish Exarchate in Asia and solving the old calendarist schism in Greece in Europe.

Moreover, extending to a new Continent, it could set up an African Orthodox Church with local, not colonial, bishops. Beyond this there is the possibility of founding a real North American Orthodox Church, with the future merger of the healthy elements of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) with ROCOR. And ROCOR in turn can, with canonical and practical support from inside Russia, help set up a Church of Oceania and a Church of South America. It is our hope that we shall yet see founded a church dedicated to the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, the Pillars of the Russian emigration of three different continents. The future begins now.

Holy Suffolk

Holiness is the Christian Orthodox ideal: we look not at rank or riches, but at holiness, for it is one of the four signs of the Church and the one which is personally accessible.  It is why all Orthodox speak of the Holy Land, the Holy Mountain, Holy Russia and of making pilgrimages to holy places, the places of the saints. Locally, in England, we speak of Holy Island, the monastery of St Cuthbert in Lindisfarne, and also of one county as holy: Holy Suffolk. What is the origin of this latter name?

When the pagan Danes invaded the Kingdom of East Anglia in the ninth century, martyring St Edmund in Hoxne, among the ‘southern folk’ of the Kingdom, later called Suffolk, they found so many churches and so much piety that they called the region ‘gesaelig’, meaning ‘blessed’ or ‘holy’. This by corruption in the Middle Ages became ‘seely’ and today ‘silly’, hence the name ‘Silly Suffolk’. Incidentally, the root of this word is the same as the Greek ‘salos’, which means foolish for Christ; any fool for Christ’s sake is known as ‘salos’ in Greek. As the Apostle Paul writes, foolishness (‘silliness’) in this world is wisdom before God.

Thus, we know that there were already 417 churches in Suffolk in 1066 – for a population that could not then have been more than 50,000: one church for every hundred or so people. Moreover, what had become known at that time as Suffolk (the region of the southern folk of East Anglia) was by the twelfth century divided into three parts: about one third in the south-east was called St Audrey’s Liberty, for this centred on Rendlesham, which had been owned by St Audrey (pedants call her ‘Etheldreda’). She was baptised by St Felix who lived there and after whom nearby Felixstowe, where St Felix founded a monastery, is named. The other two-thirds was divided into St Edmund’s Liberty or west Suffolk, centred on Bury St Edmunds, and into what was called the ‘Geldable’ (= the taxable, that is the area subject to central secular taxation). Thus some two-thirds of the modern county was dedicated to the Church, through St Audrey and St Edmund.

Indeed, a more or less straight diagonal line can be drawn from Felixstowe in the south-east corner of Suffolk, on to Bury St Edmunds and then to Ely, which borders Suffolk,  just beyond its north-west corner. The monastery in Ely had been founded by St Audrey who had been born in nearby Exning in Suffolk. This straight line forms a heavenly path for pilgrims, a spiritual way, a mystical road, connecting the three best-known saints of Suffolk: St Felix, Apostle of East Anglia, St Edmund, King of East Anglia and St Audrey of Ely. This is part of that mystical conscience of the other England, beyond modern traffic and roads, towns and shops, noise and bustle. It is a tiny fragment of holiness in today’s Suffolk, pointing us to our Orthodox destiny.

Holy, Felix, Audrey and Edmund, pray to God for us!

 

 

 

 

On the Coming Centenary of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR)

 Introduction: The Decisions of the June 2019 Synod of San Francisco

At the meeting of the Synod of Bishops of the Church Outside Russia in San Francisco at the end of June 2019 a number of decisions were taken. Notably the title of Bishop Irenei (Steenberg) was determined as ‘of London and Western Europe’ – a striking title against the political background of Brexit. The archpastors also agreed to have a special Icon painted for the 2020 centenary of the establishment of the Church Outside Russia. The Church was founded on 7/20 November 1920, as expressed in the words of Decree No 362, issued by the holy confessor Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow and the Synod in Moscow.

The hierarchs approved the text of the announcement of a competition to paint the Icon in honour of the centenary. They called on all diocesan bishops to organize celebrations and devote youth and music conferences, diocesan assemblies, clergy retreats, symposia and other events to the centenary. Finally, the Synod agreed to call a Council of Bishops on the centenary to be held in Germany. The Synod concluded with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the canonization of the ‘Abbot of the Russian Diaspora’, St John of Shanghai and San Francisco on 28 and 29 June.

Our Suggestion

It is our humble suggestion that on the anniversary all celebrate a service of thanksgiving, with special petitions of thanksgiving for the past and present and entreating God for his guidance for our Church in the future. These petitions would express the spirit of the twofold task of the Church Outside Russia at its best: a deep love for and faithfulness to the authentic Russian Orthodox Tradition, all the while witnessing and preaching before the Non-Orthodox world around us.

As regards a special Icon, we suggest the following. Let us recall how a thousand years ago, controversy surrounded the question as to who is the greatest Father: St Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian or St John Chrysostom. As the question had no issue, following a vision, in the year 1084 the Church established the Feast of the Three Hierarchs on 30 January, after the January feast days of all three of them. Let us now do the same. This new Icon should specifically portray the Three New Hierarchs of the Church Outside Russia, who have all been canonized in the last generation. These are St John of Shanghai, canonized first, St Jonah of Hankou and St Seraphim of Boguchar. The Icon would show them against a world map, with, going from west to east, St John in California, St Seraphim in Bulgaria and St Jonah in China.

St John of Shanghai (Canonized in 1994)

St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, also called St John of Shanghai and Western Europe or simply St John the Wonderworker (1896-1966) was a pastor and spiritual father of high reputation and wonderworker, known for his powers of prophecy, clairvoyance and healing. He is the most international of saints, having visited every continent, except Oceania (though he had and still has many spiritual children there who had known him personally in China). The first global saint, he served in Slavonic, Chinese, French, English, Dutch and other languages.

He was born in 1896 in the village of Adamovka in the present-day Ukraine. He came from the same family – not of Serbian origin (a common myth) – as that of St John of Tobolsk. From 1907 to 1914 he attended Poltava Military School and then received a degree in law in 1918. His family took him to Belgrade in 1921, where in 1925 he graduated from University with a degree in theology.

In 1926 he became a monk and was ordained hierodeacon by Metr Antony of Kiev, who gave him the name of St John after his saintly relative. Later that same year he was ordained priest. For several years afterwards he worked as a teacher of theology and in 1929 he was appointed to teach in the seminary in Bitola. The principal of the seminary was the future St Nicholas (Velimirovich). In 1934 he was consecrated bishop by Metropolitan Antony (the last bishop he consecrated) and assigned to the Diocese of Shanghai.

In Shanghai Bishop John found an uncompleted Cathedral and an Orthodox community deeply divided for nationalistic reasons. Making contact with all the various groups, he quickly involved himself in the existing charitable institutions and personally founded an orphanage and home for the children of the poor. Here he first became known for miracles attributed to his prayers. As a public figure it was impossible for him to completely conceal his ascetic way of life. Despite his actions during the Japanese invasion, when he routinely ignored the curfew in pursuit of his pastoral activities, the Japanese authorities never harassed him. As the only Russian hierarch in China who refused to submit to the authority of Soviet atheists after the War, in 1946 he was made Archbishop of China.

When the Communists finally took power, the Russian colony was forced to flee, first to a camp on the island of Tubabao in the Philippines and then mainly to the USA and Australia. Archbishop St. John travelled personally to Washington to ensure that his people would be allowed to enter the country.

In 1951 St John was assigned to the Archdiocese of Western Europe with his see first in Paris, then in Brussels. Thanks to his work in collecting Lives of saints, several pre-Schism Western saints became known to Orthodoxy and continue to be venerated to this day. His charitable and pastoral work continued as it had in Shanghai, now among a much more widely scattered flock.

In 1962 St John was once again reassigned, this time to San Francisco, where there were apparently intractable problems. Here too he found a divided community and a Cathedral in an unfinished state. Although he completed the building of the Cathedral and brought some measure of peace to the community he became the target of slander from those who became his political and sectarian enemies. They went so far as to file a lawsuit against him for alleged mishandling of finances related to the construction of the Cathedral. He was naturally exonerated, but this lawsuit was a great cause of sorrow to him.

On 2 July (on the secular calendar) 1966 St John reposed while visiting Seattle at a time and place which he had foretold. He was entombed beneath the altar of the Cathedral he had built in San Francisco, dedicated to the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow. In 1994, the 28th anniversary of his repose, he was canonized. His relics occupy the shrine in the Cathedral and his feast day is celebrated on the Saturday nearest to 2 July.

St Jonah of Hankou (Canonized in 1996)

St Jonah (Pokrovsky), Bishop of Hankou (1888-1925), served in Northern China in the years immediately following the Bolshevik Revolution. Born in Kaluga in Russia with the name Vladimir, he was orphaned at the age of eight and was taken in by a kindly deacon who ensured he received an education. He went on to attend, graduate and eventually teach at the Kazan Theological Academy. While a student, he became a monk of the Optina Brotherhood and was given the name Jonah.

In 1918 the Revolution forced the young hieromonk to leave Kazan. He was arrested by the atheists and suffered beatings to the point of losing consciousness and imprisonment. Thus, sharing the fate of the New Confessors of Russia, by Divine Providence Fr Jonah was freed by the White Army beyond the Ural Mountains. Fr Jonah withdrew to the borders of Western China and was subjected to all kinds of hardships while crossing the Pamirs, often forced to grab on to jagged ledges and the sparse shrubbery of the ice-covered cliffs with wounded hands. After crossing the Gobi Desert, the group finally reached Beijing, where Fr Jonah was received into the Mission there and soon consecrated Bishop of Manzhuria. (St Jonah was officially the bishop of Hankou in Hubei province, but actually worked in the town of Manzhuria, the modern day town of Manzhouli).

During his short time as bishop, St Jonah transformed the Orthodox community in Manzhuria. He established an orphanage, a school and a dining hall for the poor. He worked tirelessly for his flock and was deeply loved by them. At the end, Bishop Jonah had been caring for a priest who died of typhoid fever, but subsequently contracted chronic tonsillitis and then developed blood poisoning. As he was dying, he wrote a final epistle to his flock, reminding them of the need to love one another, confessed one final time to Archbishop Methodius of Beijing, received communion, blessed those around him. Then he put on vestments which had belonged to St Ambrose of Optina and began, loudly and with prostrations, to read the canon for the departure of the soul. Finally overcome with weakness, he lay down on his bed and said, ‘God’s will be done. Now I shall die’, and indeed within minutes he reposed.

That same evening a ten-year-old crippled boy, who had been suffering from an inflammation of the knee joints, had a dream. All medical efforts had proven fruitless. He was unable to walk or even to stand. In his dream he saw a hierarch vested in white who said, ‘Here, take my legs. I don’t need them any more. And give me yours’. He woke up and was miraculously healed. From a photograph he identified the hierarch in his dream as Bishop Jonah who had reposed that very night on 7/20 October 1925. Though his life was short, his memory endured long after his repose. His feast is on October 7/20.

St Seraphim of Boguchar (Canonized in 2016)

The future St Seraphim (Sobolev), Archbishop of Boguchar (1881-1950), is known as an ardent defender of the purity of the Orthodox Faith and Tradition, standing up for the monarchy and denouncing the Bulgakov heresy, modernism and ecumenism, and is known as a wonderworker. Before his death, he said to his spiritual children, ‘If I find boldness before the Lord, I will not leave you’. The night after his burial, he appeared in a dream to one of his spiritual sons, a monk, and said, ‘Why are you weeping? I have not died, I am alive.’

Born in Ryazan on 1 December 1881, his mother called him Nicholas. An excellent student, after attending the local parish school he entered the local seminary and in 1904 Saint Petersburg Theological Academy, during which this brilliant and already learned student became a monk, taking the name Seraphim. Fr. Seraphim taught for a year at a priest’s school in Zhitomir before being appointed assistant supervisor of the diocesan school in Kaluga. The pupils there loved Fr. Seraphim greatly. While he was still in Kaluga, he often went to the Optina Hermitage, where he visited the elders Anatoly, Barsanuphy and Joseph. Fr Anatoly treated him with special love and was his father confessor. After two and a half years, Hieromonk Seraphim was transferred to the seminary in Kostroma. In 1912, Hieromonk Seraphim was appointed rector of the seminary in Voronezh. Within a year he had so transformed the seminary that it was judged by the Synod inspector to be the best in the country.

On 1 October 1920, on the feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God, in the Cathedral of Simferopol, Archimandrite Seraphim was consecrated bishop by Metr Antony of Kiev. It was a great comfort for him that on this occasion, by God’s inscrutable ways, the great sacred treasure, the wonderworking Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God ‘of the Sign’, was present in the Cathedral. Soon after this, to his sorrow, he had to leave his native land. He spent a short time in Constantinople before moving to Bulgaria where, in August 1921, he was appointed Director of the Russian Orthodox monastic communities there.

Living in ceaseless ascetic endeavour and difficult conditions in Bulgaria, he caught tuberculosis. Despite his serious illness he cared for his flock with fervour. He served frequently and gave sermons three times a week, calling his flock to repentance, to grace-filled reformation and to the most basic virtue – humility. Especially noteworthy were his sermons on Forgiveness Sunday, when, after his appeal, many people who had quarrelled with each other for years tearfully begged forgiveness of one another.

As an archpastor he made the rounds of the Russian parishes in the Bulgarian provinces, and visited Russian schools. His talks and his warm and loving personality left a lasting, grace-filled impression everywhere. In difficult material conditions, he also cared for poor and sick Russians. For some he arranged free hospital treatment, others he placed in homes for invalids, for some he obtained pensions, some he fed at his place, and some he settled in his monastery. Nor did he overlook destitute Russian monks on Mount Athos. He formed a committee to collect help for them and in his sermons he appealed to parishioners to donate to this holy work.

In 1934 he was given the title of archbishop. Spiritually gifted from his early years and constantly engaged in a fiery struggle with the passions, while still a relatively young bishop he attained spiritual heights. Several of his spiritual children recorded cases of his clairvoyance, which manifested itself even at great distances. For his angelic purity he received the gift to perceive the most subtle deviations from Orthodox Christian truth. He watched over Orthodox Christian life and was its conscience, as it were. Where he observed irregularity, he uncompromisingly exposed it, not fearing to suffer for the truth. As a result, he produced some priceless theological works.

H e refuted the heresy of name-worship, but his major work was the refutation of the modernist Sophianist Parisian philosopher Fr Sergius Bulgakov, for which in 1937 he received a Master’s Degree in theology. He was rushing to complete this work by a certain deadline when he fell ill with a fever. He implored the Mother of God, to whose prayerful intercession he had resorted all his life, begging her to heal him. And what happened? His temperature dropped immediately and he was able to finish his work within the allotted time.

He poured out all his love for the Saviour in his theological works, fervently defending the truths of Orthodoxy. ‘My books are my blood’, he declared. And truly he lay down his life for Christ in the struggle with heretics, sparing neither his strength nor broken health. He constantly worked at night. This upset his brother, Archimandrite Sergius, in view of his weak health. Knowing this, he wrote secretly. In the evening he would lie down and when everyone else had fallen asleep he would get up and continue writing, taking advantage of the night-time quiet, considering it his pastoral duty to defend the truth. It is not by chance that the Lord called him to the next world on the day when the holy Church celebrates the Triumph of Orthodoxy and its defenders, on 13/26 February, his feast-day.

The Three Temptations

The Church has always faced three temptations, both past and contemporary, but they have never been as strong as in our day. These temptations are: ritualist and sectarian nationalism (phyletism); corrupting mammonism; secularist liberalism.

Ritualist and Sectarian Nationalism (Phyletism)

The first global saint, St John was entirely international and politically free, not fanatically narrow, sectarian, racist or ritualist. He faced down the temptations of nationalist flag waving, uniting the Orthodox communities in Shanghai, Western Europe and San Francisco. He always placed Christ above any nation and people and was never influenced by any worldly political pressures, either from the Japanese Empire, the Soviet Empire or the American Empire. He was always faithful, resisting sectarianism of all sorts. He strongly disliked the ritualizing tendency of some to cut services short, reading and singing very quickly, with the result that people cannot understand the services.

Corrupting Mammonism

St Jonah transfigured Church life in Manzhuri, establishing an orphanage, a school and a dining hall for the poor. He worked tirelessly for his flock, and was deeply loved by them. We see that he was loving, he did not seek to amass money, but worked voluntarily, showing the Church to be a community, that we are saved together. He thus avoided the temptations that tempted the Church before the Revolution and today, especially perhaps, though also in many Local Churches, in contemporary Russia: the idolatry of Mammon, chasing after money, setting tariffs for every sacramental action, which so discredits the Church and repulses the people. He was utterly detached from love of money, love of ‘gold and marble’, remaining incorruptible.

Secularist Liberalism

St Seraphim was faithful to the Tradition, not modernist and ecumenist. He never suffered from the immigrant inferiority complex of conformism to this world. He was profoundly Patristic, filled with the grace that comes from ascetic life. He was not in any way afraid to stand up to heresy, as in the case of his resistance to the fantasies of Bulgakov. And at the Moscow Council of 1948 he stood up for Orthodox unity, resisting the tide of Secularism, which the Western Powers were trying to impose on the Orthodox world through the Greek-speaking Churches, notably standing up for the Orthodox calendar and also the Orthodox, not absolutist, principle of the monarchy.

Conclusion: The Three New Hierarchs

All three hierarchs expressed the Unity, Holiness, Catholicity and Apostolicity of the Church, all having the essential in common, however each having a special ‘hypostatic’ characteristic. This characteristic put them above the world and its triple temptations. St John resisted through his humility, St Jonah through his non-possession and St Seraphim through his obedience to the Tradition.  If these temptations are resisted, the Church Outside Russia will continue. If ever it forgets them, it will face extinction.

The feasts of these Three Hierarchs are evenly spaced throughout the year, approximately every four months, in February, June/July and October. We suggest that their commemoration and celebration of their Icon be introduced on 7/20 November, after their three feasts, on the anniversary of the foundation of our Church. Eventually, a special service, based on the separate services to the three saints, or an akathist, could be compiled, entitled to ‘The Three New Hierarchs’.

Holy Hierarchs John, Jonah and Seraphim, pray to God for us!

Archpriest Andrew Phillips,

Church of St John of Shanghai, Colchester, England

St Alban’s Day, 5 July 2019

 

The Remaining Holy Relics of the Native Saints of Great Britain

At the Reformation most holy relics in Great Britain were destroyed by fanatics or else taken abroad, only a few survived. However, some have been returned in the modern era. Below the writer Dmitry Lapa has compiled a list of the saints whose relics are still present (though sometimes concealed):

St. Alban (his shoulder bone was returned to St. Albans Cathedral, Herts, from Cologne in 2002);

St. Audrey of Ely (Etheldreda) (her incorrupt hand is available for veneration in the RC church in Ely, Cambs and a particle of her relics is in St. Etheldreda’s RC Church in Ely Place, London);

St. Augustine of Canterbury (a particle of his relics is in St John’s Orthodox Church in Colchester and another in St. Augustine’s RC Church in Ramsgate, Kent);

St. Bede of Jarrow (his tomb with relics has been preserved in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral since the eleventh century and not destroyed by the iconoclasts because his authority as a historian was great; a particle of his relics is also in St John’s Orthodox Church in Colchester);

St. Birinus of Wessex (a portion of his relics is believed to rest in Dorchester-on-Thames Abbey, Oxon where miracles occur, and some in Winchester Cathedral, though concealed);

St. Boniface of Germany (two relics of the saint and a piece of his tomb were  brought to his birthplace in Crediton, Devon, from Fulda in Germany not long ago and placed in the local RC church; another particle of his relics is housed in All Saints’ Church in Brixworth, Northants);

St. Chad of Lichfield (several of his relics are venerated in the RC Cathedral in Birmingham);

St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (his shrine was buried under the floor of Durham Cathedral at the Reformation and elevated again in the nineteenth century, his relics as well as some personal relics survive and miracles occur; a particle of his relics is also in St John’s Orthodox Church in Colchester);

St. David of Mynyw and St. Justinian of Ramsey (what is believed to be their relics rest in the restored shrine of St. Davids Cathedral, Wales);

St. Eanswythe of Folkestone (her reliquary was uncovered during building work in 1885 in Folkestone church);

St. Edmund of East Anglia (a small particle of his relics is available for veneration in the RC church in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk; his supposed major relics were returned to England from France in 1901 and rest in a reliquary in the Fitzalan Side-Chapel of Arundel Castle in West Sussex);

St. Edward the Martyr (his relics were discovered by an amateur archaeologist, J. Wilson-Claridge, among the ruins of Shaftesbury Abbey in Dorset and are sometimes available for veneration at St. Edward’s Brotherhood in Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey);

St. Frideswide of Oxford (her relics were mixed with the bones of a woman and buried under the floor of Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford after the Reformation; a couple of years ago somebody’s remains were found under the floor during repair work—some of them are believed to be St. Frideswide’s; their whereabouts are unknown: some say they were soon reburied either under the saint’s restored shrine or under her symbolic gravestone, and others say they were even interred in a local church graveyard);

St. Hedda of Winchester (his relics are in Winchester Cathedral, albeit hidden after the Reformation and the exact location is unknown);

St. Hibald of Lindsey (his supposed tomb with relics was discovered under the chancel floor in the church in Hibaldstow, Lincs, in 1866);

St. John of Beverley (his relics were hidden during the Reformation under the floor of Beverley Minster in East Riding of Yorkshire; today his grave is marked there and miracles occur);

St. Kentigern Mungo (his relics most likely lie in the tomb of the lower crypt of Glasgow Cathedral);

St. Melangell (the ancient bones of a woman, most likely Melangell,  were discovered in the former apse of the church in Pennant Melangell in Powys, Wales, during a 1958 restoration project and later placed in the reconstructed shrine; miracles occur all year round);

St. Mildred of Thanet (in 1953 a portion of her relics, which for centuries had been kept in Deventer, Holland, was returned to England and enshrined in Minster Convent in Kent);

St. Swithin of Winchester (his relics were hidden during the Reformation and are still in Winchester Cathedral under the floor, somewhere near his former shrine);

St. Teilo of Llandeilo (his supposed head relic is kept in the chapel which bears his name in a specially constructed reliquary in Llandaff Cathedral in Wales);

St. Tewdrig, King of Glywysing and Martyr (his coffin with relics was rediscovered in the seventeenth century by the Bishop of Llandaff at St. Tewdrig’s Church in Mathern, Monmouthshire);

St. Urith (it can be said with high degree of certainty that her relics still lie under the church floor in Chittlehampton, Devon, a long way below the slab that covers them);

St. Winefride of Holywell (her finger-relic is kept in the RC Cathedral in Shrewsbury, Salop, and another particle of her relics belongs to Catholics in Holywell, Anglesey);

St. Wite (still intact in the church in Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset).

There are other places, where according to tradition saints’ relics may still be present. Among them are:

St. Bertram (Holy Cross Church in Ilam, Staffs);

St. Eata (the crypt of Hexham Abbey, Northumb.);

St. Oswald of Worcester and York (Worcester Cathedral);

St. Wilfrid of York (either Canterbury Cathedral or Ripon Cathedral in North Yorkshire);

Sts. Oswald of Northumbria and Hilda of Whitby (Durham Cathedral);

Those of some of the holy archbishops of Canterbury (buried around St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury, where their grave markers survive).

The supposed relics of St. Alfred the Great and St. Edburgh of Bicester have also been under investigation lately, but results are inconclusive.

 

 

 

 

Akathist to the Holy Blessed Andrew of Constantinople, Fool for Christ (870-936)

After many decades of thought and prayer, we have been able to compose an akathist to St Andrew, Fool for Christ. Like the other services we have composed to canonized saints over the last 20 years (see below and on http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/zliturgics.htm), the final inspiration has come to us very quickly.

Since St Andrew was a Slav living in Constantinople, we hope that his prayers may yet help in overcoming the present terrible schism, as it has led to the little Church of Constantinople falling away from communion with the vast majority of Orthodox worldwide.

Other Services:

  1. Service to All the Saints of the Isles (2006)
  2. Service to All the Saints of the Western Lands (2015)
  3. Service to St Alfred, King of England (2014)
  4. Service to St Audrey of Ely (1998-1999)
  5. Service to Edmund, King of East Anglia (1998-1999)
  6. Service to St Felix, Apostle of East Anglia (1998-1999)
  7. Akathist to the Felixstowe Icon of the Mother of God (1998-1999)

 

Archpriest Andrew Phillips, England

9 March 2019

 

 

Akathist to the Holy Blessed Andrew of Constantinople, Fool for Christ, 2/15 October

 

Kontakion 1

Chosen saint of God and fool for Christ, O holy blessed Andrew, from thy childhood thou didst love the Holy Scriptures and Holy Church, renouncing all worldly things. Therefore thou wast found worthy to behold the protection of the Mother of God who appeared with the saints in the church of Blachernae. Now honouring thy holy memory, we offer thee this song of praise and as thou hast great boldness before the Lord of mercy, deliver us from all misfortune, temptation and despair that we may call out to thee thus:

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Ikos 1

O all-wise Andrew, thou wast found worthy of a life equal to the angels. Once a slave of Theognostes who knew God, thou too didst know God. Once a slave, fair in appearance and outstanding in character, thou didst become a servant of God who found true freedom in renouncing the vanities and illusions of this world. Therefore hear this praise which we offer thee now, saying:

Rejoice, O vessel chosen for the wisdom of God, which is foolishness for men!

Rejoice, O trusted slave who didst become the friend and brother of the angels!

Rejoice, O favoured slave who became the favoured servant of God!

Rejoice, thou who after an angelic vision didst take up the feat of foolishness for Christ!

Rejoice, thou whose heart flowered to Christ’s teaching, accepting unfading crowns from Paradise!

Rejoice, thou who didst reckon the things of this world as nothing!

Rejoice, thou who didst show the strength of God in a weak human body!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 2

Beholding thy most strange life in which thou didst despise every care for the mortal flesh, naked in the freezing cold thou wast warmed by the sweet flowers of Paradise on account of thy burning love for Christ. Seeing thy humility and the presence of the world to come in thee, the faithful servant of Christ Barbara of the City of Constantine sang to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 2

O blessed Andrew, thou didst conceal the reasoning mind given by God by feigning folly. Thy spirit was quickened in the purity of thy soul and thy heart offered the Lord unceasing prayer for sinners in the silence of thy lips. As for us, astonished and consoled by thy vision of the Mother of God, we call out to thee in praise:

Rejoice, thou who didst extinguish the burning fire of pride from thy youth up!

Rejoice, thou who didst take up the heavy cross of foolishness for Christ’s sake!

Rejoice, thou who didst hide the brightness of grace by assuming folly!

Rejoice, thou who didst appear to be a fool to all!

Rejoice, thou who didst acquire the gift of seeing through the world by thy feat of prayer!

Rejoice, thou who wast caught up to heaven to see the Master Christ and all the beauty of Paradise!

Rejoice, O most wise Andrew, and make us wise through thy foolishness for Christ!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 3

What is not possible for men is possible for God, for the strength of God is made perfect in weakness; the blessed one shows that we weak sinners may trample down the ancient enemy of mankind by self-renunciation for the sake of Christ. O blessed Andrew, by thy prayers strengthen us sinners, that we may be found worthy to sing this heavenly song: Alleluia!

Ikos 3

O most wise Andrew, thou wast a seer of the Providence of Divine judgements. Undaunted by the illusion of the demons, who though strong in appearance are weak in power, thou wast bound with chains and consoled by the holy Anastasia and John the apostle of Christ. Therefore the faithful now flee to thee for help, singing thus:

Rejoice, thou who didst take up the easy yoke and light burden of Christ!

Rejoice, thou who didst accept the mockings of men as praise!

Rejoice, thou who like Lazarus didst lay in filth, despised even by dogs!

Rejoice, thou whose intercession heals the impure and those who love gold!

Rejoice, thou whose ragged shirt was fairer than garments woven with gold!

Rejoice, thou who didst see things to come in the present!

Rejoice, thou who didst hear unutterable words and see invisible beings!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 4

We see thee, O blessed Andrew, as a star shining forth from among the Slav peoples, brightly gleaming in the firmament of the Church. Thou wast revealed in the City of Constantine to those deluded by every lust, showing us all the heights of humble wisdom and teaching us to sing to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 4

O most wise Andrew, who didst foresee in thy soul the sweetness that is to come, as thou didst tell thy disciple Nicephorus, show thine intercession for the faithful of the City of Constantine and the Orthodox everywhere. As for us, astounded by the acts of Divine Providence for us unworthy and hard-hearted, we call to thee with tender prayer thus:

Rejoice, thou who wast clothed in a robe woven with lightning!

Rejoice, thou who becamest like unto the angels in humility!

Rejoice, thou who wast wondrously raised up on high by thy lowliness!

Rejoice, O Slav who became the boast of faithful Greeks!

Rejoice, O glory of all the peoples of the Church of God!

Rejoice, O intercessor for all who seek true wisdom!

Rejoice, O most pure vessel of the Holy Spirit, who didst love the poor!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 5

O most wise Andrew, thou becamest like unto a star following after Christ, by thy life thou didst adorn the City of Constantine, shining forth by thy feat of renunciation. Now teach us who drown in the sea of worldly passions and guide us to the calm haven of salvation by thy prayers. And, glorifying the Lord Who glorified thee, we cry: Alleluia!

Ikos 5

O blessed Andrew, the Lord made thee worthy to serve Him by showing thee the bitterness of the world and the sweetness of paradise. Having beheld Christ on His throne of glory, thou didst voluntarily suffer all privations for His sake. Now as thou dost taste of the bread of heaven in everlasting life, pray for us who are sick in body and soul and cry out to thee with tender feeling:

Rejoice, thou who wast inspired by a heavenly vision to become a fool for Christ’s sake on earth!

Rejoice, thou who wast near naked and starved to show us the wisdom of God!

Rejoice, thou who didst suffer torments and slander from all!

Rejoice, thou who didst shame the demons!

Rejoice, thou who didst see the angels!

Rejoice, thou who didst see through the thoughts of men!

Rejoice, thou who helpest those who have lost hope!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 6

Thou wast a preacher of the Cross, to those who perish a stumbling-block and foolishness, but the power and wisdom of God to thee who art saved. Seeing the height of thy lowliness, O blessed Andrew, the Lord granted thee the gift of seeing the unseen. With this gift of wisdom thou didst turn many from sin to repentance. As for us, seeing such things as these, we sing to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 6

O blessed Andrew, thou didst become poor in spirit and so receive the kingdom of God, thou didst become pure in heart and thus see God. Knowing this, we fall humbly to our knees before thine image and ask that thou mayest beseech from the Saviour of our souls a Christian ending to the lives of all who cry to thee such things as these:

Rejoice, thou who wast trampled down by men and dogs alike!

Rejoice, thou who didst drive away every earthly attachment by thy voluntary martyrdom!

Rejoice, thou who didst reveal the vanity of the world in the rich man who died, mocked by the demons!

Rejoice, thou who didst wholly give thyself up to God!

Rejoice, thou who didst shine like a flaming pillar!

Rejoice, thou who didst perceive the future in the present!

Rejoice, thou who like the apostle wast caught up to the third heaven!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 7

O all-wise Andrew, forsaking the vanity of the things of the world, thou didst forsake even the reason of men. By feigning folly thou dost show us the truth of things beyond reason and so dost shine with the unearthly light and joy of the world to come, hearing unutterable words and seeing the beauties of Paradise. Honouring thee, we ask that we too may know of that light and joy, singing to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 7

In thy feat of humble renunciation the Lord has given a sign of His mercy to us who drown in the delusions of possessions and lusts. For we have gained thee as an intercessor before the merciful God and call out to thee with thankful hearts and voices:

Rejoice, thou who hast ever raised up thine eyes with hope on the Lord!

Rejoice, thou who didst keep thy soul free from passions and so didst become bright with grace!

Rejoice, thou who hast acquired the heights of lowliness!

Rejoice, thou who wast crowned by the Lord with blessedness!

Rejoice, thou who becamest a new intercessor for faithful Orthodox!

Rejoice, thou who didst witness to Christ wandering from church to church in prayer!

Rejoice, thou who didst grow rich in wisdom by foolishness!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 8

On account of the sins and iniquities of unfaithful men who betrayed the purity of the Orthodox Faith, God allowed the City of Constantine to fall to the Hagarenes; however, by Divine Providence the Church was established in thy native Slav Lands, O blessed Andrew. Protect the Orthodox Faith there and everywhere from temptations and schisms that we may find salvation in these latter times, protecting us from the cunning wiles of the evil one. And we the faithful, wondering at thy holy life, ever sing with joy to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 8

Having acquired the inexhaustible riches of purity and wisdom through poverty, thou didst diligently serve the Lord as a fool for Christ. Therefore, like a star illuminating the way, thou dost enlighten all who seek the path of Christ. For this feat we call out to thee such things as these:

Rejoice, thou who didst despise earthly fame and win heavenly glory!

Rejoice, thou who dost denounce pride of mind with thy humility!

Rejoice, thou who dost keep us from open misfortunes with thy secret prayer!

Rejoice, O model of obedience to Christ!

Rejoice, O beauty of humility and abstinence!

Rejoice, O man who was like unto an angel!

Rejoice, O living temple of Divine wisdom!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 9

O blessed Andrew, thou didst endure all manner of sorrow and privation, beating, spitting, reviling and mocking, walking the narrow way with joy, knowing of the mysteries of Paradise by thy visions. Having lived according to the commandments of Christ, the King of Glory glorified thee and set thee in His everlasting kingdom with the blessed. Together with them thou dost sing the angelic song: Alleluia!

Ikos 9

Neither the tongues of orators nor the minds of philosophers can grasp the meaning of thy life in which thou didst follow Christ, O all-wise Andrew. Who can tell of the heights of thy lowly feat of foolishness for Christ and who can recount thy renunciation in living as a heavenly man and an earthy angel? As for us, conquered by thy humility and wisdom, we call out to thee such things as these:

Rejoice, thou who didst not spare thy flesh!

Rejoice, thou who didst intercede for those who beat thee!

Rejoice, thou who didst pray for those dragged down by their sins!

Rejoice, thou who didst warn of the sickness of greed!

Rejoice, O bright daybreak of humility, lighting the souls of sinners!

Rejoice, O warmth of the love of God warming our cold hearts!

Rejoice, O star enlightening the folly of the proud with the wisdom of the humble!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 10

The Lord preserves those who follow Him and therefore we sing to thee, blessed Andrew, as a wellspring of grace washing away the impurities of this world. For Christ granted grace to thee and grants grace to all who have recourse to thee with prayer and sing to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 10

Thou didst reveal the mystery of the Veil of our Sovereign Lady, shining forth like lightning and protecting the City of Constantine, to thy youthful disciple Epiphanius. And he too, seeing the Mother of God, spoke, saying: ‘I see, holy father, and I tremble’. Then thou didst foretell to him that he would receive the episcopal dignity. We beseech thee, blessed Andrew, who seest our thoughts and things to come, humble the pride of our minds and teach us to sing to thee thus:

Rejoice, thou who didst count as nothing the fleeting pleasures of this world!

Rejoice, thou who hadst nowhere to lay thy head!

Rejoice, thou who didst destroy all pride in thyself!

Rejoice, thou who didst serve Christ God all thy life!

Rejoice, thou who didst inherit everlasting blessedness!

Rejoice, O firm support of those who have set out on the path of repentance!

Rejoice, O wondrous consolation of all faithful Orthodox!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 11

Accept our prayerful song, O blessed Andrew, for behold, we run to thee with faith and love. Bowing our stubborn hearts before thy humble wisdom and glorifying the Lord Who glorified thee, we pray to thee: Still the stormy sea of our life, calm our passions, that we may call out to our God Who is wondrous in His saints: Alleluia!

Ikos 11

O all-wise Andrew, thou didst see the gates of heaven opened and the souls of the righteous flying forth like unto swallows. Obeying the Gospel, thou didst lose thy life and so save it. Lit by the light of this feat, we firmly believe and hope in thine intercession for us unworthy sinners and cry out to thee such things as these:

Rejoice, thou who wast enlightened by the gift of prophecy!

Rejoice, thou who didst not forsake us on leaving the earth!

Rejoice, thou who dost beseech Divine mercy for us!

Rejoice, O vessel emptied of passions and so filled with the Holy Spirit!

Rejoice, O receptacle of purity and humility!

Rejoice, O container of the wisdom of Christ!

Rejoice, O seer of God who dost pray for all who have recourse to thee!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 12

O blessed Andrew, thou didst accept grace from the Lord to see every secret sin and hidden sickness of the soul with thy spiritual eyes. Therefore grant us who are also blinded by sin to see our darkness and unworthiness, that healed by repentance, with pure heart and lips we may sing to God the angelic song: Alleluia!

Ikos 12

Let us sing of thy feats, O Andrew wise in God, let us honour thy sacrifice of foolishness for Christ, let us glorify thy manly courage in a weak body and, praising the feat of thine earthly life, let us bless thy holy repose, crying such things as these:

Rejoice, thou who didst find everlasting riches through poverty!

Rejoice, thou who didst find the world on high through lowliness!

Rejoice, thou who didst find the love of Christ through the hatred of men!

Rejoice, thou who dist find everlasting glory with Christ through the temporary mockings of the demonic!

Rejoice, thou who didst humble those whose minds were darkened by the delusions of pride!

Rejoice, thou who didst melt the ice of unrepentant hearts with the warmth of thy love!

Rejoice, thou who didst acquire the wisdom of Paradise through foolishness for Christ!

Rejoice, O blessed Andrew, who seest the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God over all the faithful!

Kontakion 13

O most glorious saint of Christ, seer of the mysteries of the human soul, O holy blessed Andrew, our intercessor before the God of mercy! Accept from us unworthy sinners this offering of prayer made out of love for thee and by thy prayers calm our passions, humble our proud minds, straighten out the crooked paths of our sins, grant us the gift of true repentance and cleanse us from every impurity, that together with thee we may cry out to our Lord and Saviour the angelic song: Alleluia!

This Kontakion is read three times and then we sing Ikos 1 and Kontakion 1.

Prayers to the holy blessed Andrew, fool for Christ

First Prayer

O saint of Christ, faithful servant and favourite of the Lord God, the Creator of all, most blessed Andrew! Hear us who are mired in sin and call on thy holy name. Pray for us who now fall before thy most pure image, accept this our unworthy prayer, ask for Divine mercy for us sinners and by thy prayers heal every sickness of our fallen souls and bodies. Make us worthy to run the course of our lives unharmed by enemies visible and invisible and come to a Christian ending to our lives, painless, blameless and peaceful, obtaining the inheritance of the Kingdom of Heaven with all the saints unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Second Prayer

O saint of God, blessed Andrew, on earth thou didst live in renunciation and so in heaven didst receive the unfading crown of righteousness, which the Lord has prepared for all who love Him. Seeing thy holy image, we rejoice in the most glorious ending of thy life and honour thy holy memory. As thou standest before the Throne of God, accept our prayers and offer them up to the All-Merciful One, that we may be forgiven every transgression. Help us to resist devilish intrigues, that we may be delivered from sorrow, sickness, misfortune, temptation and every evil, that we may live in piety and righteousness in this present age and be counted worthy to glorify the One God, Who is glorified in the saints, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Troparion, Tone 1

Hearkening to the voice of Thine Apostle Paul saying: We are fools for Christ’s sake, Thy servant Andrew became a fool for Thy sake on earth, O Christ God. Therefore, now honouring his memory, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to save our souls.

Kontakion, Tone 4

Voluntarily feigning foolishness, thou didst hate the beauties of this world and make the thoughts of the flesh to wither away through fasting and thirst, the heat of the day and freezing cold, rain and snow, and unbowed by other inclemencies of the air, thou didst purify thyself like gold in a furnace, O blessed Andrew.

 

2017: On the Spiritual Significance of the Church Outside Russia

On the eve of 2017, the centenary year of the catastrophic Russian Revolution and a decade since the triumphant reunion between the Patriarchal Church inside Russia and the emigre Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in 2007, we may wonder what will become of the heritage of the Russian emigration of 1917? After all, the generation of adults that emigrated into exile in and soon after 1917 has long since died out and we are now onto the generation of their great-great-grandchildren. In Church terms, this emigration, almost wholly rejecting the compromised authority of the then enslaved Church inside Russia, consists not just of ROCOR, but also of the small Paris splinter group. What will survive spiritually from the two parts of the Russian emigration?

The tiny Paris Archdiocese part of the emigration, perhaps 10% of the whole, survives. However, as a splinter group of dissident and disincarnate philosophers, intellectuals and aristocrats that went into schism from the Russian Church for political reasons 85 years ago, it has long been without Russian bishops because of its inherent anti-monasticism. It is tending to become a sub-group of untrained convert clergy wishing to become a tiny ‘French Orthodox Church’, though some in it imagine becoming a ‘Western European Orthodox Church’. But that is megalomania. The group often reflects Schmemannite modernism, ecumenism and liberal French Catholicism (i.e. Protestantism), having steadily abandoned the Russian Orthodox Tradition.

True, there are still a few faithful, Orthodox calendar parishes run by priests mainly imported from Russia and the Ukraine and some selected Russian customs remain, though with little understanding of their meaning. The tendency is to try and proselytize middle-class liberal intellectuals, sometimes with contempt for ordinary people, an ethos that also used to infect parts of the OCA in North America and renovationist groups in the Soviet-period Patriarchate of Moscow. The Archdiocese generally tends to cut corners, failing to observe the canons and attract cradle Orthodox, whom as a non-inclusive group it rejects. Certainly it attracts none who is anchored in the Tradition.

However, the overwhelming majority of the emigration, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), exists outside France and French philosophical intellectualism, mainly in North America, Australasia and Western Europe. As such it has from the start been responsible for much missionary and translation work in many languages. Without the protection of any State it has in its near-100 year history also been subject to many slanders, mockery and persecution for its faithfulness to the Tradition. It has often been the voice crying in the wilderness of Secularist materialism, whether Communist or Capitalist, witnessing and prophetically calling like the Forerunner and Baptist John to repentance before the apocalyptic events of the last century.

However, it is also true that in the past parts of ROCOR were also compromised and infected by Russian nationalism, excessive strictness to the point of negative phariseeism and depressing right-wing politics – some fringe elements were even so blind as to support Hitler. However, the best of ROCOR has been revealed as a Church of Confessors and Missionaries, as in its three saints: St Jonah of Hankou, St Seraphim of Sofia and St John of Shanghai. Moreover, further saints are yet to be revealed. Whatever the future shape of the present administrative structures of ROCOR, these saints have given ROCOR eternal significance, as only the saints can do, as everything else gathers the dust of history, being only passing fashion and political intrigue.

Ten years ago, in 2007, seeing the Church inside Russia at last free, ROCOR rejoined Her and in the last ten years the two parts of the Church have worked closely together. Some therefore ask why does ROCOR still exist? The answer is simple: we have a mission to witness to the Orthodox Truth specifically outside Russia. When in the past the Church inside Holy Rus was enslaved and fell silent, with the representatives of the Soviet-period Patriarchate abroad mostly abandoning ideals, sometimes disgracefully compromising themselves in renovationism, ecumenism and other ills, ROCOR spoke out. So also today ROCOR continues to proclaim outside Russia what the best of the rest of the Church proclaims inside Russia – the ideals of Holy Rus. What are these?

These ideals are Trinitarian, reflecting on earth the heavenly reality of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These Christian ideals can be expressed as: Faith, Throne and People, that is, the Orthodox Faith, the Christian Emperor, the Faithful. All three go together. If any one element is compromised, then all three are compromised. Thus, if we reject the Orthodox Faith, we do not build the Christian Empire among the People, as has happened in the Western world. If we reject the Incarnation of the Christian Empire, we fail to reflect the Faith in the Father and fail to preach the values of the Holy Spirit among the People, as has happened in disincarnate Parisian philosophy. And if the People lose the Orthodox Faith, there will be no Empire, as happened in 1917.

Just as we cannot have the Father without the Son and the Holy Spirit, so we confess all three of these ideals of Holy Rus together. This means that we are called on to proclaim the uncorrupted Orthodox Faith of the Church (the Father), the restoration of the Incarnate Christian Empire and Emperor (the Son) and that we call all the peoples of the world to join us (the Holy Spirit), as St Seraphim of Sarov prophesied nearly 200 years ago. These are the Trinitarian Orthodox Civilizational values of the Returning Christian Empire which is coming soon. Thus, we clergy and people of ROCOR are the free and conscious servants of the Faith and People of the Tsar-Martyr, called on to reverse the treason of 1917 and its disastrous worldwide consequences.