San Francisco: October 6, 2005


Sermon on the Consecration of the Cadet Monument


In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!

Beloved in the Lord Reverend Fathers, Brothers and Sisters!

On this small parcel, sanctified by the burial of many faithful children of Christ, leagues away from our beloved Fatherland, we have gathered today to honor the memory of those who selflessly devoted themselves, from an early age, to serve the Faith, the Czar and the Fatherland. On behalf of their grateful descendants, we consecrate this humble monument, erected on foreign soil as a gift, as the fruit of the labors of earnest zealots of our history, with all its glorious, and tragic, pages…

Who were the Cadets? And what does it mean to serve the Faith, the Czar and the Fatherland? And what is honor in and of itself, this term which seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth? Let us ponder these profound words, let us remember those who served as their manifestation—those who are close to us by blood, by flesh, by spirit.

The Cadets were the children of Russia of the male sex whose families enrolled them in the military schools of the Russian Empire with the aim of dedicating them to the high calling of defending the country, the people, and Civilization—the Orthodox Christ-loving Civilization which was Russia. Military schools, the Cadet Corps and the schools founded to prepare the cadres of officers for the Russian military began their existence in their modern form under the pious Emperor Peter Alekseevich, properly called the Great. Though many are fond of enumerating his many personal shortcomings—yet who among us, dear ones, does not have a multitude of faults?—it cannot be refuted that the Anointed to the Throne by Divine Providence, Czar Peter Alekseevich, cared as no one before him or after him for the defense of Russia from those who sought to conquer her, seeking to steal her spiritual values and innumerable material riches, from those who more than anything made attempts on the freedom and independence of her people, the enemies of all kinds and all countries. “Heavy is the Crown of Monomachos!” said the eternal Pushkin in describing the difficulty of the service of the Monarch, first of all of the one who is charged with guaranteeing the preservation of the most vast sovereignty, with her (let us be fair) obstinate people, not always obedient to the Will of God—but a people yet beloved and protected by God… The Great Czar, the reformer, knew that the future of Russia demanded the proper education of her sons, the correct spiritual and scientific teaching of her soldiers, the proper preparation to complicated military actions… For such is our fate: so long as Russia exists—and she will exist until the end of time—she must be militant, she must be a great power, ever protecting her holy churches and Christ-loving people from captivity, from invasion by foreigners and from civil strife…

Sending their sons to military schools—often as mere children!—Russian families entrusted them to the supreme civil authorities, to the Royal House itself, for the senior overseers of these schools, the first protectors of them were always the members of the Imperial Family itself. We all recall and venerate the bright memory of our last leaders in the vital work of the education of the future warriors of Russia, especially Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. We must never forget, those of us born abroad, the feats of the Cadets who devoted themselves to the lofty ideals of their Russian teachers in the military schools abroad, in the main émigré centers. Some came to spill their blood honorably, some may not have shared that fate, but all were prepared to do so. Those who eluded the battlefield from youth or by circumstances later served as they could, with all they had, outside the borders of their Fatherland.

Let us also remember, brothers and sisters, that there were Russian soldiers who were not able to evacuate, or because of Divine Providence stayed behind in their Fatherland seized by the atheists… Believe me, there were those who secretly continued their holy fighting, the labor of valor, the podvig of the Russian vityaz, rearing the next generation within the borders of the Soviet Union itself, bearing torture, in hiding, suffering deprivation, enduring blockades and the horrors of bloody war, suffering the hated symbols of the conquerors and enemies of Russia—with faith and hope accepting all the God sent down upon them, knowing and firmly believing that the satanic evil will come to an end… These, too, we remember, and honor.

Today, dear ones, each of us can visit our Russian land and come to the conclusion that in every village, from Volynia to Pomorye, the descendants of the worthy Cadets and of the Russian families, glorious and simple, the cared for and the poor, are building wonderful temples to the Lord, hurrying to recreate with their humble offerings churches and monasteries first and foremost. People who in many instances lack the basics of contemporary life, Russian people: these people buy icons, renovate churches, spend all night reading any Orthodox Christian literature they can lay their hands on, reestablish their bonds with a lost Civilization, having enduring terrible persecution, deprivation and humiliation, finding Christian Orthodox Russia; they take their children back into the churches with them…

And so, beloved ones, we have a miracle of miracles: now opening once again for Russian children, for all the youth devoted to Russia, Cadet Academies.

My beloved ones! The greatest military feat is the feat of prayer. The greatest battlefield is the unseen battlefield, the spiritual war for the Kingdom of Heaven. And many wonderful talented graduates of the Imperial Cadet Corps, seeing before their eyes the end of the Russian Empire from the atheist assault, headed for the ranks of the clergy, took on the monastic, angelic orders, and became spiritual warriors.

No doubt through their prayers, as through the prayerful tears and spiritual struggles invested by every one of us, the Lord has granted for us to live to see these remarkable days as we witness the beginning of the process of the rebirth of Russia, and where once were wounds and terrible scars, a new Orthodox body of flesh and bone, illuminated by Christ, belonging to church-going Russian people.

In this lies the meaning of the hundreds of years of service to the Faith, to the Czar and to the Fatherland! Our faith, our hope, is in God, and not in ourselves or in others. Our faith and hopes proved justified. Justified also were the podvigi of the Cadets, the podvigi of the Cossacks, the podvigi of mothers and fathers, of children, of clergymen. There were once Righteous Czars and Czarinas in Russia. If Divine Providence will have it, they will rule once again. But God sees before Him not those divided among the living and the dead! Before God are the righteous Christian Czars and Czarinas—they all live to this day. And we, the faithful children of Christ’s flock, serve them, and together, we serve God, the Ever-eternal King of Kings. And where is our Fatherland? For every Orthodox Christian, the Fatherland is first and foremost the Kingdom of God. Dying for our Faith, Orthodox soldiers, devoting their lives to the Christ-loving armies, from the ancient knights of the first centuries of Christianity to our Russian Cadets of the last days, gave an oath to serve eternally, in life and in death, to the Kingdom of God first of all, and their earthly Fatherland secondly. Where is our earthly Fatherland? Of course, it is the land of our Fathers, our Homeland: for us Russians the Fatherland is the eternal, the one, the indivisible Orthodox, Christ-loving Rus.

Let us turn once again to the question: what is Honor? Honor, as we see it, is Truth. Truth in the rejection of flattery, lies, falsehood, any and all forms of betrayal, that is of deceit. Honor is when a person does not lie to his neighbor with treachery or duplicity, but speaks the truth and serves the truth, and acknowledges above himself a great, holy Divine Truth which is that which was preserved for these thousands of years by our very own Holy Orthodox Christian Church, headed by the Chief, the King of Kings Himself, Christ our God, for Who_ is the Honor and Power, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen!

+Archbishop Kyrill
of San Francisco and Western America