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[orthodox-synod] Metropolitan Vitalii's Epistle To the Russian Orthodox People

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  • intrprtr@prodigy.net
    While, in the following piece, Metropolitan Vitalii is addressing primarily Russians, what he has to say is yet spiritually beneficial to those who are not
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 25, 1999
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      While, in the following piece, Metropolitan Vitalii is addressing primarily
      Russians, what he has to say is yet spiritually beneficial to those who are
      not Russians, but who are nevertheless striving to live genuinely Orthodox
      lives.... -- Trans.

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      METROPOLITAN VITALII'S EPISTLE TO THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PEOPLE

      I address this sermon to you Russian folk. Especially to those of you who
      are forced to live in some country or other of this world, which is located
      at a far distance from our Russian Orthodox churches. Yet, even in such a
      situation, we nevertheless should keep and preserve our traditions -- in
      particular, our Faith and our language -- in our daily lives.

      Let your home become your house-church. In the "beauteous" corner of your
      room -- facing east, if at all possible, ([ for ] "Orient is His -- the
      Lord's -- name") -- there should always shine the light of an unquenchable
      _lampada_ [ = votive-lamp ] before your chief hallow -: the ikon of the
      Saviour, or of the Mother of God, and of the other Saints that you
      venerate. This ikon should not be tiny, but of such a size that the face
      of the one depicted thereupon gazes at you, and you at it. Each and every
      ikon is wonder-working in its essence, and miraculous in its activity, if
      one prays before it with all one's heart.

      One should always wear a cross upon one's person, and even a tiny ikon of
      the Mother of God and of St. Nicholas. Upon entering your own house -- or
      that of someone else who is Orthodox -- seek out the ikon with your gaze;
      make the sign of the cross upon yourself, and only thereafter greet the
      host and everyone else. Do all these things simply, without excessive
      pains, ostentation, or full prostrations. There is always great power in
      simplicity and sincerity!

      At all such moments, it becomes clear to us ourselves, as well as to
      others, that our Orthodox Faith and Church are always with us and in us.
      Travelling along city-streets or roadways, do not waste precious time, but
      pray silently to yourself -: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, be merciful to
      me, a sinner." And if, through God's merciful kindness, you should chance
      to receive the gift of prayer of the heart, then that heart of yours --
      which, to some degree, is mysteriously independent of your mind -- will
      pray this prayer incessantly, even if you happen to be doing something
      else, or speaking with someone at the time.

      Each person, created in the image and likeness of God, is always a mystery.
      Our great writer Dostoyevskii said as much, declaring that all his works
      are merely a weak attempt to understand man, who remains a mystery, even
      unto this day.

      Our Russian literary language is sanctified by the Church-Slavonic tongue
      of the Divine Services, from which it stems. Pushkin was capable of
      preserving this goodly principle, inserting into his speech, sometimes, but
      a single Church-Slavonic word, much as a good jeweler inserts a diamond
      into a golden setting. Our entire Russian culture, expressed through the
      Russian tongue, holds to the Orthodox Faith by its roots. Without the
      Orthodox Faith the inhabitants of Russia are turning into a
      Russian-speaking nation, and the individual Russian is becoming a Russian
      pagan. May the Lord help us to avoid this sorry lot.

      -- Metropolitan Vitalii [ the First-Hierarch Of the Russian Orthodox Church
      Abroad ]

      2/15 June 1999

      ------------------------------

      Translated into English by G. Spruksts from the Russian text appearing in
      _"Pravoslavnaya Rus'"_ ("Orthodox Rus'"), No. 15 (1636), 1/14 August 1999,
      p. 1. English-language translation copyright (c) 1999 by The St. Stefan Of
      Perm' Guild; The Russian Cultural Heritage Society; and the Translator.
      All rights reserved.

      (The Russian title of this sermon was added by the Editors of
      _"Pravoslavnaya Rus'"_.)
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