Russian Orthodox Church Officially Honours the Saints of the British Isles
- The Whole Russian Orthodox Church
Officially Honours the Saints of the Isles
Today, Tuesday 21 August 2007, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church
has officially recognized the Feast of the Saints of the Isles.
(See our Service to these Saints on this website under 'Hisperica
Liturgica' - Western Liturgica). This Feast is in honour of the Saints who
lived in Great Britain and Ireland before the Western Schism of 1054. This
was when most of Western Europe tragically split off from the Church, thus
founding Roman Catholicism and later the myriad of sects which grew up from
The Feast will be observed, as it already has been for many years in
parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and elsewhere,
on the third Sunday after Pentecost. The Synod has also decided that these
Saints' names should be included in the Church Menologion, once their lives
and exploits have been studied.
The Synod's decision follows the appeal of 3 March 2007, when the Russian
Orthodox Church in Great Britain and Ireland of the Diocese of
Sourozh, petitioned His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II and the Holy Synod of
the Russian Church to give official recognition to the Feast of the Saints
of the Isles.
Once again, we see how the work begun by the Synod of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in New York is being completed in Moscow.
First, in 2000, His Holiness and the Synod in Moscow recognized and
completed the ROCOR canonization of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia
of 1981. Now it is recognizing the Local Saints of the Western Lands, who
previously had not been known or venerated in Russia, but had been venerated
since the 1970s in ROCOR.
This decision is clearly a historic turning-point. The Local Saints of the
Western Lands now begin their entry into the calendar of the whole
Russian Orthodox Church. This is a sign of the universalism or catholicity
of the Russian Church. It is also, we must add, the recognition of our
thirty-three years of unceasing struggle against both the forces of
ecumenistic modernism and ritualistic conservatism. We well remember the
persecution and mockery that we faced from both extremes in the 1970s, when
there was virtually no sympathy for our cause. Later we recall how our
writings on them had to be published at personal sacrifice, in order to make
these Saints of God known. This is once more the victory of the royal path
of moderation, victory over the spiritual death of extremes. We pray and
hope that the Local Saints of other Western Lands will now also make their
entry into the consciousness and calendar of the whole Church of Rus.
God is wonderful in His Saints! Glory to Thee, our God, Glory to Thee!
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