A Nation that Recieves Christianity is Sanctified by the Blood of Martyrs

Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru     

Every year at the beginning of February we celebrate the memory of the New Martyrs and Confessor of the Russian Church—the saints who suffered for Christ in our country in the twentieth century.

Usually it works like this: When in the preaching of Christianity begins some country, that country is then sanctified by the blood of martyrs. This world hates Christ and His servants, and therefore this painful encounter for the world takes place with Christianity. But the Lord led Rus’ by another path. When the Christianization of Rus’ began at the beginning of the tenth century, there were very few martyrs—you could say just a few. But a multitude of martyrs shown forth in our country almost a thousand years after the preaching of Christianity here.

Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru   

Amazing! You would think that all reasonable people would agree on what’s written in the Gospel: We must love our neighbors, forgive them, and live in peace. Nevertheless, not a single religion has been subjected or is being subjected to such persecutions as Christianity. It’s hard to explain this in any other way than as the actions of demonic forces. However, all persecutions always end up being for the good of the Church. That is what happened in Rus’ in the twentieth century. The authorities tried for decades to destroy Christianity—but as a result, they only enriched the Church with a multitude of martyrs.

Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru     

Those who are glorified as New Martyrs had many different fates. Some served many years beforehand as a clergyman, never once thinking that in Orthodox Russia they could start killing people for their faith. Others became priests in soviet times, knowing very well that they were signing up for a death sentence. Others simply helped those imprisoned and were persecuted by the authorities for it. Amongst the New Martyrs are grand duchesses, secret priests, as well as simple peasants. We could say that in their names is all of Russia that did not renounce Christ.

Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru   

And for our (Sretensky) Monastery, this feast is especially significant. The patron of Sretensky Monastery, Holy Hieromartyr Hilarion, is one of the clearest examples of the New Martyrs—a close co-laborer with St. (Patriarch) Tikhon. And the territory of the monastery in the1920’s had been taken over by the punitive agents, which means that here, literally on the monastery grounds, interrogations and executions were conducted, and here our New Martyrs suffered.

The commemoration day of the New Martyrs of the Russian Church was also the day that Archimandrite John (Krestiankin) departed to the Lord. Fr. John himself, we could say, was also one of those who passed through Stalin’s camps. Through his blessing, our monastery is also a successor to the saints who suffered under the godless authorities.

Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru

Of course, we live under completely different conditions from those of the New Martyrs. We have the opportunity to freely pray at divine services, to cultivate our church life, and confess our faith. And now, looking at the example of the saints of the twentieth century, it is important to think about whether we appreciate what we have. Do we understand how easily it could be taken away from us? After all, it would have been impossible to imagine in 1910, for example, that in ten years they would start killing priests, closing churches, and routing monastics out of monasteries. And as we look at the history of our country, it is very important for us to appreciate all that the Lord is giving us now.

Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Church of the Ressurection and New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Sretensky Monastery, Moscow. Photo: A.Goryainov / monastery.ru     

It is also very important for us to ask the New Martyrs that they would help us to love Christ and His Church as much as they did. Just as they were zealous Christians in the time of trial, may we also preserve zeal for God in our sufficiently tranquil times. And may we meet with them in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Hieromonk Athanasius (Deryugin)
Translation by OrthoChristian.com

Sretensky Monastery website

2/9/2021

Comments
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

Subscribe
to our mailing list

* indicates required
×