Feast of the New Martyrs of Russia

posted Feb 7, 2013, 11:49 AM by rthompson@stjohnsacademysf.org
When Russia first accepted Orthodoxy as the faith of her people, the Russian people opened their hearts and accepted this faith with such a profound depth that Russia became a truly Orthodox nation. It was called the "the home of the Theotokos" and "the Third Rome". Sadly, Russia did not remain true to Christ, turning more and more to the non-Orthodox secular model practiced by other peoples, and began losing in a great measure her Orthodox identity. The merciful Lord sent many prophets to call the people to return back to their faith. This included St. Seraphim, represented in the medallion on the left side of this icon, and St. John of Kronstadt, represented on the right. But when the people did not respond, the Lord turned away, and Russia was attacked by dark forces. The whole country was covered with blood and destruction, reminiscent of the fall of Jerusalem or Constantinople. This terror continued for some seventy years.

In 1981, the free voice of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, took the bold step of glorying the thousands of innocent martyrs who died for their faith in Christ. This glorification was later repeated by the entire Russian Orthodox Church in the year 2000. Being glorified here on earth, the new martyrs were enabled to plead even more fervently before the Throne of God for mercy and forgiveness to the Russian people and the reign of terror came to an end.

This Sunday, we celebrate the memory of these glorious new saints. It is our spiritual obligation to never let their memory fade with time. Therefore, I ask everyone who is a member of the Orthodox Church, especially of the Russian Orthodox Church, to participate without fail in the church services this weekend. We need to honor and offer our gratitude to these saints who made such a great sacrifice to our Lord and who in great measure were able to soften God's justice after which the Russian people were freed from the yoke of Communist oppression. Together, we can raise our voices in joyous celebration, thanking God and the New Martyrs for their love and mercy to us.

Please follow this link to the website of the All Saints of American Orthodox Church in Virginia. This website has a wonderful interactive icon of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia . Here you can learn about many of the New Martyrs and draw inspiration from their witness.

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