The learned Archbishop Theophan (Bystrov) of Poltava is well known as the confessor to the Royal Family of Tsar Nicholas II. This sermon was given in his exile in Bulgaria after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.
Two earthy people who passed through all the sufferings of this world, weak and doubting, with heavy sins on their conscience, but who were able through tears and repentance to tear themselves out of the darkness and make of themselves sacred chalices of the mystical Liturgy of Christ.
As one of the oldest hierarchs of the Russian Church, who reportedly refused to nominate himself as a candidate for the Patriarchal Throne, Metropolitan Vladimir led the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for all those many, often painful years, from 1992 until his repose in 2014.
The fact that all future generations of monks easily overlooked his podvig is the clearest testimony to the fact that after his tonsure, Basil rejected all his wealth and honor and completely changed his way of life.
Next, the angel saith that the prayer of Zacharias was heard, and then straightway promiseth that the wife of Zacharias should bear a child.We are not to understand that he had been praying for the birth of a son whilst he was offering the sacrifice according to the liturgy of that time, for we are told that he had given up hope of a son, and no one prayeth for that which he hath no hope of obtaining.
The commemoration day of the saints who shown forth in the Russian land show us that spiritual heaven under which the Russian land was created and lived. Before Holy Prince Vladimir, in the Russian land lived disparate pagan tribes who were constantly at war with each other. Holy Prince Vladimir brought them a new faith, a new inner spiritual state; he gave them a new, all-uniting spirit of life, and thus was one nation formed.
Some years back, there was a point in my life when I didn’t give a second thought to the Saints. Fortunately, I had a life-changing experience that dispelled my incorrect notions about Saints and changed my whole paradigm in the way I view these holy servants.
The Holy Spirit works in Christians, but people deprived of such grace can neither understand nor tolerate it, but try to ridicule it, often from their misunderstanding. But the Spirit of Divine grace also works on them—we just have to show apostolic zeal and labor to bring this Divine grace to the entire world.