Consecration of a Cossack Monument at the Serbian Cemetery
the Editors: On May 7, a monument erected in the famed
Serbian Cemetery of San Francisco, dedicated to the Cossacks who
suffered during the years of conflict was consecrated. We offer
the speeches read by His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill and Ataman of
the All-Cossack Union of San Francisco, Victor Pavlovich Metlenko:
of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill:
In the Name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!
Fathers, Brothers and Sisters! Christ is Risen!
All of us gathered
here, many from remote locations, and also a great multitude of
those near and dear to us who are scattered throughout the world,
owe the debt of our very existence to those remarkable people whose
suffering, pain under torture, military feats, successes and honor
are memorialized here by this monument, for whose consecration we
are here today.
We all must
take into account the well-known truth, as did our predecessors
and heroes: in the Kingdom of Heaven there is no division between
the living and the dead, for in Christ, all are alive. So we all
know that today with us on this site are their bright souls: the
souls of our departed, unforgotten Cossacks, tortured to death by
the godless, who spilled their own blood for their Faith, for the
Tsar, for Russia.
We do not see
them, but God sees all—not only each Cossack in his dark day of
death, but all their worthy relatives, their ancestors, their descendants,
including us sinners.
What is unknown
to the human mind is known in the minutest detail to God: the names
of all of them, their fates, their experiences, and their number.
this monument, let us give thanks to the Lord God who inspired the
descendants of these people, in the form of the All-Cossack Union,
for their labor of erecting this memorial. Let us pause upon the
meaning of this symbol and the meaning of the feat of our unforgettable
were the centerpiece of the Tsarist military, the pride of the Emperor,
the first and last hope of all the greatest Russian generals: Suvorov,
Kutuzov, Skobelev, of their fellow soldiers and their successors.
The Cossacks, to their last drop of blood, fought the Red slave-masters
and evil-doers, the usurpers and traitors, they fought all the enemies
who tried to deprive Russia of freedom.
of the Cossack was of life is their disciplined, selfless service
to society and future generations, through unwavering devotion to
the Orthodox Faith, the zealous working of the land that God gave
the Russian people, and the constant readiness to join in combat.
Cossacks were renowned for the fact that with blinding swiftness,
they would hand over all household responsibilities to their wives
and boldly throw themselves into furious battle for their homeland.
If a regular soldier needed time to prepare, to equip himself, to
do drills, a Cossack did not even need a day. A Cossack always had
with him everything he needed, he was well-prepared in military
arts and needed to special training; he needed no more than the
most meager provisions; a Cossack was famed for his endurance and
decisiveness, he infected others with his warrior spirit, he constantly
displayed courage and bravery, he was unquestioningly obedient and
engaged in battle until the death.
were strong family men, they kept their farmsteads, their homes
and stanitsy (Cossack villages] orderly, moral and restrained, severe
obedience to their elders to the point of asceticism. In those difficult
periods when the Cossacks headed for an expedition or to the front,
their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters—Cossacks all—without
a moment's hesitation, heaped upon themselves all the duties of
their departed men, ensuring through their remarkable physical efforts
the future peaceful existence of their stanitsy. Such was life,
over the course of many generations, in full devotion to God, the
Tsar and the Fatherland, to the good order and blossoming of their
native land, for a significant portion of the finest, most resourceful,
most independent, self-sufficient and hard-working of all Russian
communities—the Cossack stanitsy.
the Time of Troubles, the Russian state grew strong, and the Cossacks
became the main pillar of the lawful government. The enemies of
Orthodoxy and of Russia trembled from the very thought of approaching
Cossack forces, to the point that even after 80 years of atheist
rule and brutal persecutions of Orthodox Christians, they could
not eliminate Orthodoxy, nor the Cossacks, nor the Russian spirit
and Russian national honor.
But if today
Russia still exists, if Russia will continue to live on with God's
help and flourish in the future, it must be said that our Cossacks
are probably the main reason. The Cossacks gave the entire Russian
people that very leavening of piety in the sense of humble steadfastness
in the faith, in the combination of real patriotism and actual feats
(not only in word), in service and in deeds. The Cossacks championed
the truth, which strengthened our understanding of service through
faith and truth—that is, utter resistance to betrayal and treason
in any form. Cossacks fear no suffering. The tragic pages of our
history are bloodied by the multitude of innocent Cossack children
who were bestially killed by the Red commissars in the attempt to
utterly eliminate those families and clans which remained devoted
to God, the Church and the Emperor, whom they knew would not veer
from resisting the ideology of godlessness, evil and totalitarianism.
But the Lord
God did not allow the final destruction of His faithful servants.
Through the prayers of our great saints, our New Martyrs and Confessors,
the Lord God hid a portion of His devoted Cossacks from the persecutors,
so that at the needed time—now, before our very eyes—these stanitsy
would rise again, along with their blessed traditions.
We know, we
will never forget that there were Cossacks who went underground
during the Soviet era, who continued in secret their struggle against
the enemies of Russia, and they hold the final victory over Communism.
We remember also those innocent victims who were lost through the
corrupt, immoral intrigues of those who sacrificed them to a horrible
death, when our relatives and dear Cossacks, old men, women, children,
the wounded, were driven into box cars for forced repatriation,
sent off to certain death... The memory of the martyrs of Lienz,
whose 60th anniversary we mark this year, and the other shameful
retaliations against defenseless Russian Orthodox people, will never
die in our hearts. But our memories will not bring them succor:
they were consoled among the host of saints by God Himself, on the
very days and hours of their tragic deaths!
Here, in this
small but populated cemetery, where so many of our dear friends
and relatives found their final resting place, gazing over these
tombstones, which serve as clear reminders of the many centuries
of the struggles through selfless service of Russian Orthodox Cossackdom,
and also of the martyric sufferings endured by the generations of
the 20th century, let each of us remember our relatives, our ancestors,
our friends, acquaintances, the heroes, the saviors and defenders,
thanks to whom the Lord God bestowed upon us the task of continuing
their service to Him, to Orthodoxy, to Russia and even to the general
work of educating mankind and improving civilization as such.
We all knew,
many of us knew many of them, knew them well, and now, when many
have passed into eternity to the Lord, we clearly declare through
this Monument and its solemn consecration that we love them and
honor them to this day, we pray for them and ask them to pray for
us, so that the Lord God would truly revive and strengthen in our
Homeland and everywhere the holy task of the selfless service begun
by our ancestors, whose image appears in this Monument. Amen!
Christ is Risen!
of the All-Cossack Union in San Francisco, Victor Pavlovich Metlenko:
spiritual Fathers, brother and sister Cossacks, cadets, scouts,
monarchists and dear Russians and Orthodox Christians who have gathered
here together on this holy site:
Christ is Risen!
day has finally arrived, a joyous, bright day; the day of the consecration
of the monument created in honor of all those who died from the
brutal Red terror which brought a sea of tears and irreversible
sorrow to Cossack families. The Red commissars spared no one: innocent
blood spilled by Cossack children and their mothers, men and women,
brothers and sisters will forever remain an indelible stain on their
bestial cruelty and black obscurantism.
where tens of thousands of Cossacks perished, the eternal pride
and glory of the Russian Army, evokes unending pain and suffering
in one's heart from the trampled and humiliated Honor of Our Glorious
Fatherland! How many abasements and sorrows has Russia suffered,
bound hand and foot by the Red executioner and forced to her knees?!
Even now Russia
cannot completely rise up from the fatal blows and losses she has
suffered... Our hearts are filled with pious anxiety and brilliant
joy at the sight of this memorial, which hails the eternal podvig
[spiritual feat] of the Russian Orthodox Cossackdom in those terrible
hour has finally arrived, when our memorial is, with God's help,
finished and consecrated! Eternal Glory and Memory to the Cossack
Heroes, the Defenders of Our Beloved Fatherland!
and memorable day of Bright Paschal Week is dear to all of us—we
see in it Divine Providence and God's finger in this good work!
The day and hour of this important event is not an accident. The
Russian land was soaked with the blood of Orthodox Christian martyrs,
whose moans and cries resound in our hearts even today. Cossacks,
faithful defenders of our dear Fatherland, laid their bold heads
on the fields of battle, not one of them fled their ground! The
flowers of the field and the grasses of the steppes sang their pannikhidas
in those days of horror...
May the descendants
of the Orthodox Russian Land know and remember the history of Great
Russia! May our children and their grandchildren learn and know
the true history of the Crowned, the Invincible Russia!
I built a
memorial not made with human hands;
The people's path to it shall not be overgrown.
Its unbowed head is raised
Higher than Alexander Pillar.
--was the great
Aleksander Sergeevich Pushkin's legacy to the descendants of Russia.
This monument, dedicated to the Russian Cossacks, is our meager
donation to the great work of the Renascence of Russia! May the
path to it not become overgrown. This Holy Site is our gift to the
Great Past of Russia, a living testimony to this glorious memory
of the past, the present and future for all the generations of the
Russian Orthodox People to come!
shaken off its sleep, it is awakening and being reborn! Russian
Cossackdom is being reborn as well!
Let us bow
our heads in prayer, let us constantly pray for the genuine spiritual
and patriotic blossoming of Russia's rebirth! Our strength is in
unity, in our All-Russian Orthodox conciliarity! Hail our great,
unconquerable and Holy Russia! Hail All-Russian Cossackdom!
CHRIST IS RISEN!