Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York on the Day of Orthodox Youth of the Russian Church Abroad, Celebrated on the Sunday of All Saints

Beloved in
the Lord Brothers and Sisters:

I send my heartfelt greetings on the feast of All
Saints, and the Day of Orthodox Youth celebrated on
this day, which was established by the Russian Church
Abroad seven years ago.

There is not one day of the year when we do not celebrate
the memory of one saint or another. On most days, we
commemorate several saints.

There are as many saints
as there are stars we see in the heavens. Some are known
to us by name and by their spiritual feats, some are known
only to God. If we read the lives of the saints and think
about them, we will see that although their lives were
very different, some of them lived very much like we do,
but they came to love Christ, heard His call, dedicated
themselves to God and devoted their lives to fulfill His
commandments.

This is what sainthood means.

And so Christ the Savior summons us to sainthood: He calls
upon us to completely change our attitude towards life, to
repent of our sins, correct our errant ways and follow the
saints into the Kingdom of Heaven. As Apostle Peter said,
“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye
holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:15 ).
And we must learn to repent and fulfill Christ’s
commandments from no one but the saints themselves, for by
learning about their lives and through conversation with
them in prayer, saintliness is communicated to us.

How are we to emulate the saints on earth? We should hold
the Living God in our hearts, not abandon our
interpersonal relationships, share heartfelt warmth and
attention with our neighbors, help those who are in need,
strengthen your parish families, and not distinguish
between those born here and those who came from afar.

All of you young people must become the most dynamic, most
blossoming foundation of your parishes. This is especially
important for us who live far from our historic Homeland,
where it is so important to bear witness to Christ before
the world, to preserve our Russian legacy, Russian
culture, language, and the wonderful tradition developed
over decades within our Russian Church Abroad of volunteer
service.

Remembering the wishes of Metropolitan Laurus of blessed
memory, that “youth is not only our future, it is
our present, which deserves special attention” as
well as pastoral care, I call upon our clergy and faithful
to double your prayers for our young generation, that the
Lord strengthen in their young hearts faith and love for
God, that He grants them the strength to follow the path
of the Gospel. I call upon you to support the missionary
youth programs and all good efforts.

I call upon you young people to be worthy of the lofty
call of Christianity,
to maintain a fervent heart, genuine love for God and
neighbor, I wish you success in your studies, in prayers
and good deeds, to learn to discern good from evil in
these wicked times, truth from deceit, to try to make this
world better and kinder, in other words, to emulate the
saints. I invoke the abundant aid of God in all your good
deeds and efforts.

+ HILARION
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
Russia.

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