My dears, our friends, children of God, children of the holy Orthodox Church! Today is a special day—the day of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the day of the triumph of the Holy Orthodox, Catholic, and Apostolic Church; of the Heavenly Church Triumphant and the earthly Church Militant.
The Old Testament Temple of God accepted into itself the seed of new life, the divine maiden in whom will spiritually sprout and grow the New, saving Covenant of man with God. The Old Testament Temple of God took into itself the sacred Ark of the New Testament, the animate temple of the Savior, the precious bridal chamber and Virgin—the sacred treasury of the glory of God.
And does not there arise in us the question of why the Lord united these two elect of His here on earth, if not because it was by one heart and by one mind that they lived, although in different times and circumstances—the same work they fulfilled, living on earth so as to unite themselves in eternity and on earth in the memory of the people? Let us look closer at their lives and draw from the fountain of ever-present living water which grants immortality to the soul.
Why do we love Orthodoxy and the Orthodox Church? During the days of His earthly life, pious listeners, our Lord Jesus Christ united around Himself all those who believed in Him, and among these believers He drew the apostles particularly close to Himself.
This single meeting between Christ and the Samaritan woman turns into a meeting with the living God for both the sinful woman and for the entire world, inasmuch as here, at the well of temporal water, the hitherto unknown source of Eternal Life was first secured. Here Christ for the first time reveals Himself to be the new, inexhaustible well of living water, flowing into Life Eternal.
This judgment of ourselves will tear a living, saving cry from our hearts that will reach the heavens: “Lord! Have mercy on me. O God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” And the miracle of our salvation will begin. The Lord will console our repentant souls and hearts with peace, calm, and love. In the words of our dear elder, St. Seraphim of Sarov, “Acquire the spirit of peace, and thousands will be saved around you”—transformation will begin in life around us.
But during this present, difficult time, when the earth has grown old, is burdened by faithlessness, lawlessness, and ignorance of the knowledge of God’s commandments, has our Fervent Intercessor turned away from us in her zeal for the glory of her Son and God? No, my dears, this could not be. Needy children are dearer to a mother.
The historical flow of Russian life has been varied: there were times of thunderous activity, there were lulls, and even complete halts. The river of Russian national life that gave birth to saints flowed in the given direction; this flow, however, was sometimes rapid and fruitful, sometimes slow, and sometimes so quiet that it was hard to tell whether it was flowing forward or backward. And now, 1,000 years later, we can mark the main periods of Russian religious history from the time of St. Vladimir to the present day.
The Patriarch was the spiritual leader of the Russian people during a very difficult time. He continues to be so during our difficult time in Russia—a time of schism, separation, and falls. The Church's duty in such trials is to inspire and unite the people for the sake of saving their native land, faith, and truth, serving for unification.
We know that it was Divine will. But our heart—the human heart—remains as if unsatisfied: could there really not have been a single person with the resolve to say a kind word for the Lord before His judges, or testify in His defense?.. We are shocked by this spectacle of the ingratitude, blindness, madness, and cruelty of Christ’s contemporaries.
Our illnesses are the result of a sinful life, and healing has to begin with repentance and Unction—this is for the soul. After Unction you need to go to the doctors, so that with God’s help they would also help your ailing body.
Your heart is more inclined towards family life; this is also a podvig, like monastisicm, if not even more complicated. After all, you would be responsible not only for yourself, but for your wife and children. But you must decide. There is no salvation in life without podvig.
You want to introduce a monarchical-patriotic spirit into the monastery. This would be wittingly destroying the monastic spirit, and therefore I have only one piece of advice for you — live at home and do the work God has blessed you to do for the moment: teaching.It is better to participate in something constructive bit by bit than by one broad sweep; you might even demolish it by your ignorance or misunderstanding.
How orphaned you have become, and not only you, but we, too. Godly people are departing for another world—those who have witnessed by their lives that they are indeed Godly people. Such people are becoming rarer and rarer, and the world is becoming empty.
I am even afraid to call you by this name. Matushkas are coming up with new “batiushkas,” and batiushkas are looking for adventure. And the children? The children are not wanted by anyone, not by matushka, even less by batiushka — they are raised by the streets and television, or their parents’ example. That is how it is, Matushka.
Fr. Hierodeacon is alive and well, and continues to carry his obedience on the holy hill. (This is a hill in the Pskov-Cave Monastery, located over the Holy Caves, where the reposed fathers are buried [trans.]). What do you have to be afraid of in the monastery? Be obedient to Matushka Abbess and save yourself.
How orphaned you have become, and not only you, but we, too. godly people are departing for another world—those who have witnessed by their lives that they are indeed godly people. Such people are becoming rarer and rarer, and the world is becoming empty. What the next generation has to say for itself is not yet clear, but so far life does not console us with good expectations.
Heartfelt congratulations to you, my dear eldress, with your eightieth birthday. Well, you and I have lived to see this blessed time, when the field of our lives is white with the harvest, and the stalks heavy with grain are leaning toward the earth.
Know, that for every child that is unborn due to his mother’s will, each child to which she later gives birth for her own “joy” will take revenge upon her with sorrows, sicknesses and psychological oppression. This is a law. You cannot expect happiness in earthly life after infanticide, and as for life in eternity, well it’s terrible even to think about it. In a word - hell.
Proof of our rightness in God is a peaceful spirit, which the Holy Spirit generates in the righteous soul. You do not have this peace, which means that you have no rightness. You are governed by fleeting impressions, and do not delve into the depths of God’s judgments, Holy Scripture, and the whole history of the Church which witnesses to them.
Batiushka, how is it that you do not hear God’s will for you, spoken by the head of the Church: “It means you’ll have to remain here!” It is all the more valuable having been pronounced without any judgment from one or another interested party. You correctly thought at that moment that the question was resolved. But then … then egoism and self-will began their underground work. While His Holiness [the Patriarch] repeatedly confirms what he said according to inspiration: “It’s better for you to stay here.”
Receiving the monastic tonsure should be preceded by our resolve for it, expressed not only in the mind and heart, but by our life itself. Therefore, do not rush to take the tonsure, but labor with firmness of will for self-crucifixion, and live monastically in the world, knowing only the institute, home, and church.
God bless you to finish the education you have started; artists are not only needed in the theatre. But the Lord will determine this in the future. For now, study and make progress, study with love and output, study as an obedience. Do not torment yourself with distracting thoughts.
There is Someone who knows about all our troubles. Not one troubled thought of ours slips by Him. He knows that troubles cause suffering. That is why He always wants to help us. He promises to take all our troubles upon Himself. Could we have anything better? He wants to take away everything that weighs upon us. He wants to pave a pathway for us in those regions where we do not see any way out. He wants to change all the conditions that burden us. He wants to send us help.