Orthodox America


  Moscow Patriarchate Glorifies Saints


    As part of its celebration of the Millennium, which it officially observed June 5 - 16, the Moscow Patriarchate added nine saints to the 1500 already recognized by the Russian Church before the Revolution of 1917. The glorification service took place during the meeting of the Local Council at the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra not far from Moscow.

    In the refectory church of St. Sergius, the Act of the Council concerning the glorifications was read. Each saint's life was briefly related before his troparion hymn was sung and the saint's icon--specially commissioned for the occasion--carried in and placed on a stand in the middle of the church.

    Several years' research by a commission led by Metropolitan Juvenali of Krutitsa and Kolomna resulted in the choice of these particular saints.

    Grand Prince Dimitrt Donskoi (1350-1389):. a pious ruler who, against all odds, defeated the Mongol forces at the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380.

    Andrei Rublev (1360-early 15th c.): monk and gifted iconographer renowned for his much-reproduced Holy Trinity icon. (He has long been accepted as a saint by the Russian Church, although he was never officially canonized.)

    Maxim Grec( 1470-1556): theologian, translator, philosopher; an upholder of Old Believer traditions. (It is hoped that his glorification will help the Old Believers towards a rapprochement with the Church.)

    Metropolitan Makary ( 1482-1563): saintly advisor of the young Ivan IV; initiated the collection of lives of Russian saints and prepared for the glorification of many of them,

    Paisius Velichkovsky(1722-1794): initiated the renewal of the monastic tradition of eldership; began the translation of the Philokalia whose writings he had collected on Mt. Athos. (Glorified in 1982 by the Church Abroad at St. Elias Skete on Mt. Athos.)

     Elder Ambrose of Optina (1812-1891): a clairvoyant elder who aided countless numbers of monastics and hymen with his spiritual counsels; a prototype for Dostoevsky's Elder Zosima in The Brothers Karamazov.

     Blessed Xenia of St. Petersburg (1732-early 19th c.): a clairvoyant fool-for-Christ, widely venerated ever since her repose. (glorified by the Church Abroad in 1978.)

     Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov (1807-1867): a brilliant theologian and Holy Father of the latter times, who stressed the ascetic nature of Christianity and the need for sobriety; author of The Arena, a classic handbook on spiritual life.

     Bishop Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894): a righteous ascetic and profound Church writer who spent the last 22 years of his life in seclusion; edited and translated another spiritual classic, Unseen Warfare.

     In unofficial Church circles, those unfettered by the need to 'toe the line,' jubilation over these canonisations was dampened by the conspicuous absence of St. John of Kronstadt and Russia's New Martyrs (glorified in 1964 and 1982 respectively, by the Church Abroad) who are widely--even, one may say, enthusiastically--venerated by the faithful. Their exclusion was the subject of considerable comment during a round-table discussion in Moscow on June 11, chaired by Archpriest Victor Potapov who attended the Millennium festivities as a representative of the "Voice of America" broadcast station. This discussion--whose participants included Priests Gleb Yakunin and Georgi Edelstein, writers Zoya Krakhmalnikova and her hushand Felix Svetov, editors of various unofficial Orthodox publications, and other Orthodox activist laymen will be the subject of a longer article in a future Issue of this paper.


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