«By love and unity we shall be saved», said the Hegumen of the Russian Land, venerable Sergius of Radonezh, the greatest giant of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state. These words sound like a spiritual guidance in hard times to the participants of our Procession. Seven hundred years have passed – but his call still sounds high in the Russian skies and still warms our hearts with love and unity!

Life in love and unity is definitely the perfect way to salvation; for man, for family, for every community and for the whole nation... This formula of St. Sergius helps us to avoid all kinds of destruction – moral and spiritual, physical and historical. His words seem to be incredibly simple and superficial, but, in fact, they have a profound meaning. The meaning included in the commandment of Jesus that he called the greatest in the conversation with the Pharisees and Sadducees. Lord left it not to them, the lawyers who tempted him, he left it to his sincere and faithful followers: «Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself» [Matt. 22, 37-39]. Two people are neighbors, and Lord is above both of them and with them. In love and unity – that is the condition of the world's existence.

St. Sergius whole life until his last minute was based on this principle of love and unity. And all his life was a severe spiritual warfare of the brave and pure in heart warrior of Christ...

His earthly work is a continuous peacekeeping and state-organizing activity of the mastermind of the Russian army and the spiritual guide of Russian princes, whom he called to base all political actions on the moral principles... (The moral ideals of Russian people, formed at that time, are relevant to this day!)

His practical work is the dispensation in remote places that have not only untouched nature, but also wild customs of dozens of Orthodox churches – monasteries whose common Faith spread throughout the spacious Russian Land and thus protected our Motherland from troubles by the Providence and the intercession of the Mother of God...

Visible and invisible self-denying work of venerable Sergius inspired many of his contemporaries and descendants to selfless service to God and the country. The basis of such a life is a deep personal Faith of the Holy hegumen of Radonezh, his constant prayer and communion with God, his internal conviction about the necessity of collaboration of the man with God. His own fruitful experience confirmed it. The saving power of love and unity in Christ, to which venerable Sergius called, became the spiritual guidance for all Rus', as well as for us, his compatriots.

Devoting his life to God, venerable Sergius in his early years called his brother Stephen and they founded a monastery on the river Conchuri, on the Makovets hill in the middle of the woods of Radonezh. That was the place where the two brothers built a small wooden church in the name of the Holy Trinity. It has become the centre of space organization, both earthly and spiritual one. A cathedral known as the Church of the Holy Trinity is situated here today. And the number of basic moral ideas and earthly foundations, laid by venerable Sergius, was amazing in the 14th century, enlightened by his spirit and his service! For example, according to the story of the foundation of the Vysotsky monastery, St. Sergius of Radonezh «laid the foundation with his own hands and consecrated the monastery» at request of Prince Vladimir Andreevitch. The «consecration» means making the sign of the cross over the subject being blessed. The establishment of a church in those days was already considered as «Divine Sense» in nature. Like those who put the outline of the future fresco, the people of that epoch «organized» their life environment with the foundation of a church in remote places. And the next step Christians took to explore the area was Processions...

Our Procession ends in the monastery of Seraphim of Sarov, where the foundation of the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh will be laid. May the organizer and intercessor for the Russian Land help us deliver his Holy image to this monastery, patiently overcoming the hardships on the way. May our Motherland be decorated with Orthodox churches, may the image of Holy Rus' restore and reveal itself on the Russian Land!

Venerable Father Sergius, pray unto God for us!

Protopriest Nikolai Babitch


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