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The Cry of the New Martyrs ? Redeem the Time!

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
      The Cry of the New Martyrs ? Redeem the Time! Brothers and Sisters:     Let us glorify the Saviour of mankind and magnify His Most Pure Mother!    
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 29, 2004
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        The Cry of the New Martyrs ? Redeem the Time!



      Brothers and Sisters:


          Let us glorify the Saviour of mankind and magnify His Most Pure Mother!


          The Holy Virgin kept for us in her heart the glad tidings which the
      shepherds heard from the angel (Luke 2:17-19). And she will likewise find
      room in her heart for our prayers of this holy season. With this assurance,
      let us fulfill the will of God, "redeeming the time, because the days are
      evil" (Eph. 5:16).


          Just now, we have yet another, a special reason to value the years that
      lie immediately ahead of us. A thousand-year period in the history of the
      Russian Orthodox Church is drawing to a close. Five years separate us from
      that significant day in 1988 which marks the thousand-year a anniversary of
      the Baptism of Russia. Some of us have but five years left to live, others
      a few more, others less. This should make us stop and think.


          At the same time, by the prayers of the New Martyrs and Confessors of
      Russia, we have in Russia new witnesses, bold accusers of the violence
      against the Church. Among them is Deacon Vladimir Rusak who set himself the
      task of writing the history of the Russian Church in the period since 1917.
      His archives and the most nearly completed copy of his work were, of
      course, confiscated by the KGB. Whether we shall ever have a chance of
      reading this book, I do not know. But we are grateful to the author for its
      title: "The Incriminating Evidence".  For this evidence-Fr. Vladimir
      already lost his position as one of Moscow's leading clergy, and for his
      lenten sermon in Vitebsk--in which he spoke exceptionally powerfully
      concerning Russia's New Martyrs--Fr. Vladimir was sent to a monastery. What
      more awaits him?


          May the Lord remember him, together with Fr, Gleb Yakunin, Igor
      Ogurtsov, Zoya Krakhmalnikova, and others there who have valued the truth
      and have labored to redeem the time, taking advantage of the short time
      that was theirs.


       Here are the words of Fr. Vladimir concerning the New Martyrs:


           "Not only have we sacrilegiously forgotten the blood they shed and the
      sufferings which they endured, but we have criminally slandered their
      deeds. Instead of pointing to those who have been the cause of their
      martyrdom, we resort to casuistry and lay the blame on these martyrs
      themselves: we blame them for having been disloyal to the government
      authorities. Yet what position should a normal churchman adopt towards the
      atheistic, and furthermore, anti-Christian government?"


           How can we, here in freedom, worthily make use of the years ahead? In
      Russia, despite the persecution, not a little has already been said--and so
      powerfully, if only by a few.


           The "builders of socialism and communism" have thought up their
      godless five-year plans. Let us counteract their ruinous activity. Asking
      God's blessing, let us today declare our own five-year plan, a five-year
      crusade towards that cherished goal: the millennium of Russia's Baptism.
      And with this millennium, we make bold to hope for the freedom of our
      Church, the freedom of Russia, and our common spiritual rebirth.


           Let us dedicate these next five years to what Bishop Theophan the
      Recluse termed, "attuning ourselves the spiritual life":', Let us consider
      the years ahead as a time of extreme urgency. And let us not spare
      ourselves in working towards our goal.


           May our labors in these next five years serve as our gift to the
      Christ Child, and may they be as precious in His sight as gifts of gold,
      frankincense, and myrrh.


      Archbishop Anthony of Western America and San Francisco
      Nativity, 1983
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