NEW YORK: February 6, 2018
Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York sends greetings to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry and his concelebrants at the International Academic Conference on the 100th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Hieromartyr Vladimir (Bogoyavlensky)
Your Beatitude, Vladyka Onouphry,
Your Eminences and Your Graces,
Dear in the Lord Fathers, Brothers and Sisters:
I prayerfully share with you today’s celebration of the glorification of Holy New Hieromartyr Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia, and with a kind heart and Christian love congratulate the participants of the divine services and the International Academic Conference on the 100th Anniversary of his martyrdom being hosted by Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra. A distant relative of St Vladimir, Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky), the second Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, called him “a leader of the host of crowned martyrs,” the new passion-bearers, for this first of the archpastors of the Russian Church who was to die, in the words of St Gregory the Theologian, “showed the path for others,” with his sufferings and blood confirming his confession of the faith.
As the representative of my unworthiness will report, the bishops of the Russian Church Abroad who canonized St Vladimir and a multitude of other New Martyrs of the Russian Church in 1981 sensed their sacred duty to express their repentance and love for the peoples of our Fatherland through the glorification of, and fervent prayers to, the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the 20th century. They were living examples and witnesses to devotion to Christ’s teachings on the Cross, the Resurrection and eternal life, and their canonization was at the same time a denunciation of their godless persecutors and all those who denied the existence of the human soul, of repentance and response before God in the coming life.
This historic act by my predecessors was committed in fear of God and in the hope that the canonization would bring consolation to the oppressed, strengthen the flock in piety, and by the prayers of the New Martyrs would invoke the mercy of the Lord upon the Mother Church and our Homeland.
And now, in the face of new tribulations, we once again turn to the podvig of Metropolitan Vladimir and those who followed in his footsteps, embarking on a new era of Church history, to find the courage within ourselves to respond to the challenges of our time, and in these complicated circumstances worthily carry out the work of God.
The mighty effect of the sufferings of the martyrs on the souls of others was brilliantly expressed by Tertullian: “The blood of Christians is the seed” of new life in Christ. St John Chrysostom writes: “Just as one gazing at the sun does not make it brighter, but allows light into his eyes, so does one who venerates a martyr not make him more glorious, but acquires illuminating blessings from him.”
And so on this feast day of Hieromartyr Vladimir I prayerfully wish all the participants of the celebrations, the flock of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and our scattered flock, to ponder the life of this individual, piously pray to him and to the other New Martyrs, to acquire renewal of your inner strength, edification in the faith, the many mercies and blessings of God for the proper fulfillment of your calling and the bearing of your individual crosses, heeding the words of St Basil the Great: “Martyrs need no more glory, but for us living in this world, we must remember them in order to emulate them.”
I kiss the holy relics of the great and first among the Hieromartyrs, St Vladimir, and venerate the struggles of our archpastors today, their pastors and the laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, once more greeting you all and asking your holy prayers, wishing in my heart success in your fruitful and blessed efforts!
With love in the Lord,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.