The life of the Savior was from the very outset a valley of sorrows, filled more with injustice than with the triumph of the Divine Incarnation heralded by the angels. This also relates to the saints we have named.
Today, when the holy Church celebrates the memory of all the saints who shown forth in the Russian lands, we prayerfully turn our spiritual gaze towards the hosts of warriors for the Heavenly King, the immortal Divine regiment.
The life filled with blessedness, which according to the Savior’s words, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (Jn. 10:10) man is called to inherit, is taken away from the wretch by the demon through passions and sin. Instead of becoming the foal of an ass upon which Christ seats Himself and leads him into the Kingdom of Heaven, the Jerusalem on high, he becomes a filthy swine, drowning in the sea of sins and passions.
Today, brothers and sisters, on Great and Holy Thursday we remember the Last Supper, when our Lord Jesus Christ established the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and served the first Divine Eucharist, giving his disciples and apostles His Most Pure Body and Blood in the image of bread and wine.
Pravoslavie.ru has been running a series dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of the restoration of monastic life in Sretensky Monastery, featuring monks who live there. One of the most recent talks was with Hieromonk Pavel (Shcherbachev), the deputy secretary of the Patriarchal Council for Culture, which is run from within the monastery walls.
Dr. James H. Billington, the distinguished scholar and Librarian of Congress, recently visited the Moscow Sretensky Monastery. We asked Dr. Billington about how he came to love Russia, about Christianity in America, and about his impressions of the Sretensky Monastery Choir and the book, Everyday Saints and Other Stories.
When Fr. Andrei began serving at that church, the area was surrounded by agricultural fields and forest. There were no roads leading to the village, which consisted of a few old houses. Nevertheless, parishioners travelled from Moscow and sloshed through the thick mud to reach that holy place. Fr. Andrei welcomed all who came to pray at the Divine Services, and a warm meal was always ready afterwards.