Homily for the Second Sunday of Pentecost and All Saints who have shone forth in the Russian land (1964)

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit!

Beloved in Christ! Today the Orthodox Church solemnly
celebrates the radiant memory of all saints who have shone
forth in the Russian land, glorified by God for their
God-pleasing podvigs and holy lives. They are the
firstborn of the Russian Orthodox people, redeemed by the
priceless Blood of Christ and sanctified by the grace of
the Holy Spirit, delivered to God the Father by Jesus
Christ. They are the blessed fruit of the holy Orthodox
faith, of Christianity, planted in the midst of our
Russian people.

Do you remember what our homeland was before the adoption
of Christianity? It was a wild and barbaric country, where
human sacrifices were offered to idols, where life was
spent in wars, debauchery, cruelty and violence. Only just
had the beam of the Christian faith shone in Russia when
the people’s lives were immediately reborn. From a
cruel, perverse paganism our people, under the influence
of the Christian faith, became a meek people, displaying a
rare goodness of soul, simplicity of faith, devotion to
Jesus Christ and the Mother of God—such devotion
that for the Orthodox faith the Russian people were always
prepared to give their very lives.

And in the midst of this enlightened faith our Orthodox
people were reared and a host of those pleasing to God
were glorified: monastics, martyrs, hierarchs, holy women,
fools for Christ, such that there is no corner in Russia,
no major city which has not had within its limits such
luminaries and intercessors for the Russian land. Kindled
on the mountains of Kiev, the light of the Christian faith
has brought an abundance of fruit in the persons of the
venerable fathers of the Kiev Caves Lavra; and in our
south, replete with saints, where loyalty to Christ was
embodied in the martyric death of His seven hieromartyrs
of Kherson. Who does not know the illustrious saints of
our country’s north, such as Venerable
Zosima and Sabbatius of Solovki, and Sergius and
Herman of Valaam, the wonderworkers? In Novgorod and
Vologda who is not familiar with the podvigs of the
venerable fathers Kirill of White Lake, Kirill of New
Lake, Nil of Sora, Therapon of White Lake, and many
others?

Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov)
Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov)
Ryazan is adorned with its renowned
saints Vasily of Ryazan and the martyr Roman.
Pereslavl has its luminaries the venerable Daniel and
Nikita. Moscow has its protectors and intercessors in
the persons of the first hierarchs, saints Peter,
Alexey, Jonah, Philip, and Hermogenes.
The cities of Yaroslavl, Smolensk, Vologda, Kazan,
Astrakhan, Murom,
Rostov, and Vladimir all have their patrons and
intercessors before the Throne of God. Even faraway
Siberia beams with such light-bearers as, for
example, Innocent and Sophrony of Irkutsk, Simeon of
Verkhotursk, and John of Tobolsk.

The Orthodox faith reared up such great Russian saints, as
Venerable Sergius of Radonezh, Seraphim of Sarov laboring
in the forests of Tambov, and the holy hierarchs Joasaph
of Belgorod and Tikhon of
Voronezh. The names of these God-pleasers are dear not
only for the Russian Orthodox people, but are venerated
with love far beyond the boundaries of our country. How
rich is our fatherland in men of prayer, glorious saints
who number more than four hundred. And how many ascetics
are there, pleasing to God, whose names we do not know!
And the number of saints increased especially in recent
times, when for faith in Christ, for confessing the word
of God, faithful sons of the Orthodox Church by their
stability and courage defeated the devil and were blessed
with heavenly crowns and eternal blessed life.

Dear brothers and sisters, having such a great multitude
of saints shining forth in our Russian land, we should
rejoice and be comforted, that we are not alone, but we
have in Heaven our older brothers, our protectors and
intercessors, who see all of our needs and hear all of our
prayers and lamentations.

Let us turn to them today with a heartfelt prayer for the
Russian land and for the salvation of our souls, that they
might by their prayers implore for us the mercy and grace
of God: All saints of our land, pray to God for us! Amen.

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