Beloved in Christ! Today the Orthodox Church solemnly celebrates the radiant memory of all saints who have shone forth in the Russian land, glorified by God for their God-pleasing podvigs and holy lives. They are the firstborn of the Russian Orthodox people, redeemed by the priceless Blood of Christ and sanctified by the grace of the Holy Spirit, delivered to God the Father by Jesus Christ. They are the blessed fruit of the holy Orthodox faith, of Christianity, planted in the midst of our Russian people.
Do you remember what our homeland was before the adoption of Christianity? It was a wild and barbaric country, where human sacrifices were offered to idols, where life was spent in wars, debauchery, cruelty and violence. Only just had the beam of the Christian faith shone in Russia when the people’s lives were immediately reborn. From a cruel, perverse paganism our people, under the influence of the Christian faith, became a meek people, displaying a rare goodness of soul, simplicity of faith, devotion to Jesus Christ and the Mother of God—such devotion that for the Orthodox faith the Russian people were always prepared to give their very lives.