The holy, right-believing Prince-Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb were the first saints to be canonized in Rus’. Despite this, many Christians, and especially in our time, do not understand the meaning of their podvig. And really, where is the virtue in being meekly killed? Deacon Valery Dukhanin, Fr. Dimitry Shishkin, and Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov speak about the meaning and importance of the podvig of the holy princes and the last Russian tsar.
On July 4/17, we honor the memory of the Royal Passion-bearers, murdered in 1918: Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich II, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, and their children—Tsarevich Alexei and the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov speaks about the example given to us by the lives and deaths of the holy Royal Martyrs.
The Spirit of God teaches a man humility, that is, the awareness and sense of one’s own infirmity. Grace sometimes conceals its actions, but sometimes God’s grace powerfully acts on a man, as if returning to him his wings, enlightening his mind, making every word of prayer coming forth from his lips a fiery arrow, soaring into Heaven.
The identity of every one of us is unique and, moreover, can never be reproduced. It would seem that all have a soul and body, with much in common with one another to be found, but all the same, appearance, poise, and manner of dress are always individual, and especially our language, speech, words. Tell me a few words and I will tell you much about your soul.
The priest is the apocalyptic angel of the Lord God Almighty, and, beholding our preceptors, holy and pious pastors, we, modern priests, are summoned in unity with the hierarchy our own hearts to edify, and human souls to heal, not for the sake of filthy lucre, not for the sake of vainglory, but to the glory of the Lord, Who, gazing upon us from Golgotha’s Cross, Divine strength gives us to bear the candle of the priesthood unto our victorious end.
Such was the humility more honorable than the seraphim and more glorious beyond compare than the cherubim of her whose purity exceeds that of the angels and astonished the heavenly moral perfections. Such was her humility, her modest self-esteem, that she supplicated the Creator to ban the fallen spirits from access to her all-chaste soul. The Queen of Heaven knew that the ascent from earth to heaven is the final exam and trial which you and I shall invariably undergo—one sooner, another later, but we are all behooved once to die and then to appear at the judgment seat of Christ. This is why the feast of the Dormition is so important for every one of us.
Elijah the zealot who, as you remember, was able even with fire to meet brazen blasphemers attempting on the life of the fiery prophet, and, communing with Christ, to thereby bear witness to the apostles (and they were people, after all, literate and understanding) that before them—the apostles, Elijah, and Moses—was the long-awaited Messiah, the hope of tongues, He Who came to free Israel not so much from the foreign Roman domination as from the tyranny of the devil, from the domination of the passions, to shatter death itself, paving a path new and living to Resurrection.
The priests, one after the other read prayers that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, invisibly serving this Mystery by the hands of the clerics, according to our faith might touch His healing finger to the soul and body of those afflicted, deliver from all sorts of ailments spiritual and bodily, raise up in us a spirit of peace, vigor, joy, and strength, make our bodies into instruments of the creative will of God, sanctify our consciences and make peaceful our hearts.
As part of the special project “Mysteries of the Church” Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov speaks on the essence and meaning of each of the seven Mysteries: Baptism, Chrismation, Repentance, Communion, the Mystery of Marriage, the Mystery of the Priesthood, and Unction. Today we will talk about the Mystery of Communion, its meaning, how to prepare ourselves for this Mystery and how to maintain those gifts that a Christian receives in Communion.
I greet you, dear friends, on the day of St. Seraphim of Sarov, wonderworker of all Russia and luminary of Russian history, the Russian land, and the Russian Church!Allow me to ask you a question: What is the main difference between our contemporaries and the venerable Sarov ascetic?
Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov discusses the spiritual meaning of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul; why these very different individuals who became followers of Christ in very different ways are commemorated together; and how their personal qualities should become examples for us.
Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov speaks on the spiritual meaning of the feast of the Nativity of John the Forerunner, and on the importance of his preaching and the lessons of his life, as part of the project “The Lord’s Summer.”
Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov speaks about the purpose, meaning and essence of the Apostles’ Fast; about how we can relate the apostolic ministry in our life—the apostolic gift of word—to our abilities; and about the need to humble ourselves verbally and to spiritualize all of our pronunciations.
Not only in the minute of confession of sins and receiving of forgiveness are we called to carry out the commandment of Christ: Repent ye and believe the Gospel; but before and after Confession the Christian is called to abide in repentance. Repentance is the air that pervades the soul; it is the light that allows us to see the path before us. Repentance is the aspiration to refrain from your confessed sins. It is a battle with sinister desires and passions that are no-nos, and which raise up their serpentine heads in the depths of our heart.
By virtue of Chrismation the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. He recalls for us the commandments, making our conscience very sensitive and vigilant. The grace of the Holy Spirit gives to man strength to contend with sin and not capitulate to the mercy of the conqueror, and not to yield to the evil that dominates in the world. The Mystery of Chrismation makes man a winged creature, born in Baptism not to crawl, but to fly.
Confession is the most important component of the spiritual life of every Christian, both adults and children. At what age should children begin to go to Confession? How to explain to them the essence of this Mystery? How to prepare for Confession? What can help to overcome the hesitation or even fear in our young people?
Today’s people, who have resigned themselves to the name, “consumer” and “average person”, cannot even imagine what Prince Vladimir’s heart lived by when he was in his phase of a torturous search for faith, desiring to find some meaning for his life, and he sought out spiritual teachers to follow.
In order not to fall for stereotypes and not lose that one and only person, one must not be carried away, as King Solomon teaches us, by external good looks, elegant facial features and figure, and not walk on the leash of the lust of the eyes. Goats, mules, and rams are distinguished by this not so clever art. The ability to see the personality itself, the traits and qualities of the soul is a rare capability amongst the young, who are more inclined to get carried away than older people made wise by experience.
Fr. Artemy Vladimirov, an English-speaking Moscow priest from the Church of All Saints at Krasnoselskaya, has, for the past decade, been a mainstay for Western Orthodox converts living in Moscow and visitors seeking a deeper spiritual life. His staunchly traditional belief, deep insight, warm humor, and willingness to reach out to souls from diverse backgrounds, have brought more than a few foreigners to Orthodoxy. As the expatriate community has come and gone, Fr. Artemy has generously presided over numerous missionary dinners, high teas, and spontaneous talks—unforgettable gatherings that awaken souls and delight the spirit.
What makes the servants of the Lord, the servants of the God of heaven, true Christians, different from the children of this age? The wise King Solomon says that even the face of a pious man shines. His royal father, the holy Prophet David, adds, The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, hath shined upon us (Ps. 4:6). The gift of the Holy Spirit given to us in the Sacrament of Baptism has placed a bright mark upon our whole being—in the hour of our spiritual birth in the baptismal font, the soul was wondrously illumined, as if it had been clothed in garments of grace, white as snow.
We very much pity those Orthodox Christians who think that the best rest for their exhausted soul is to watch television news. This isn’t a bad thing, perhaps, but it’s a dead thing. You may spend all of the earthly time you have been allotted with such distractions, but you will never be at peace. If you want to calm your mind and ease your heart, try calling instead on the most holy name of Jesus Christ, without haste and with only one intent: to attract His attention and repent of your sins.