суббота, 27 июня 2009 г.

Tomorrow - THE DAY OF ALL THE SAINTS OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND

Tomorrow is the Russian orthodox celebration  of all the Saints of Britain and Ireland.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
    THE DAY OF ALL THE SAINTS OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND
                      20 June 1999
                           ----


In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.


I will speak first in English and then in Russian because I feel it is
immensely important for us to be at one at the very depth of our souls
and  lives  on  this  day when we keep the memory of all the Saints of
This Land.


I  don't  believe there is anyone in our midst who is a refugee in the
sense  in  which  my  generation and that of my parents were after the
Revolution,  and  therefore you do not probably perceive as acutely as
we  did  what  it  meant  to  find  ourselves  in  countries dispersed
throughout  the  world,  whose language we did not know, whose customs
were  strange  to  us,  whose  people  did  not see in us brothers and
sisters of their own race, and how incredibly wonderful it was to come
into all the countries of the West and discover two things. The one is
that  any  country  had  had  a  period  of  time  when the Church was
undivided,  and  that we shared the Saints of those centuries, that we
were  at one with innumerable Saints venerated, loved, emulated by the
people  of  this country and of other countries of the West. And also,
how wonderful it was to realise that even when the Church found itself
divided,  and  increasingly  so  through  the centuries, there was one
thing  that united us inseparably at the very root of our being - that
we  were  Christ's own people and that this people who first seemed to
be  strange  to us, alien to us, were the people who through centuries
had  kept  in this Land and in so many other Lands the faith in Christ
as  the  Incarnate  Son  of  God,  the  Saviour  of mankind. To see in
everyone someone who in Christ was a brother, a sister, a friend, from
whom  we  were  divided  by the accidents of History, but with whom we
were at one at the very depth of things.


We  realised  then another thing also, that it was not only the Saints
of This Land and of other Lands whom we knew to be Orthodox Saints and
their successors, who knowingly or unknowingly were belonging to other
Churches, but that we were rooted inseparably, rooted deeply in Christ
and that they were at one with us and were receiving us, strangers, as
brothers,  as  sisters  in  Christ,  not claiming from us unity of the
faith,  but  giving  to  us  from the depth of a common faith which we
possessed   the   love,  the  compassion,  the  support  which  we  so
desperately needed. We can think of the Saints of This Land on the one
hand  as  Orthodox  Saints to whom we belong, with whom we belong, who
receive  us in the joy of brotherliness, of sisterliness, but also the
innumerable  Saints  of  later  times  with whom we have everything in
common  if we truly have in common a faith in Christ and a life worthy
of  Him  and  of this faith. The whole Land became to us not a Land of
exile  but  a  Land  of  Welcome; not a strange country, but a country
where  love  was  offered  us,  in  the name of Christ, in the name of
humanity.


And  this  is  why this day, today, the day when we keep the memory of
All Saints of Britain and Ireland, we remember not only with gratitude
all  these  Saints who received us because we were our own and because
we  were  their own, but all the people who have kept their memory and
were receiving us in the name of Christ. How wonderful it was! And how
easily  we  cease  to  realise  this when suffering, agony, loneliness
recede.  It  is easy now to come to Western countries for a variety of
reasons, because practically no one is a refugee in the sense in which
we were, rejected by our countries, deprived of our citizenship. A few
are, but not a majority. And the few must be remembered and cared for.


At present a tragedy even greater than the one which the generation of
my  parents  and  grandparents  experienced  is  taking  place  in the
Balkans.  There  are  refugees  of all sorts; people who belong to all
groups  of humanity; they need our prayers whoever they are. They need
compassion, they need understanding, they need that we should stand by
them, they need that we should pray for the Saints of all the Lands of
the  West  to  extend  their  love  and  their  mercy on those who are
rejected  by other human people, who are treated in a vile, in a cruel
way  by  people  who should in the name of Christ give their lives for
them;  or  in  the name of humanity, if Christ does not exist in their
lives, see in each person a man, a woman, a child who needs compassion
and love.


Let  us  today,  when we remember the Saints of this Land who meant so
much  to  us  refugees  of  the  early days, let us remember them with
gratitude  and  pray  that their blessing may come upon all of us, and
extend  beyond us to all those in the world nowadays who are refugees,
homeless,  persecuted, rejected people who need the compassion and the
love  of  us all whatever the cost to our feelings, or the cost to our
lives. Amen!
                           ----



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