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Appeal of Protopriest Mitrofan Znosko-Borovsky 

 

Thank God! Our ten-year service in Morocco is concluding with the consecration of Dormition Church in Casablana and parish house, which belongs to you, sons of Russia. 

Everything most sacrosanct to us, which we brought with us in our hearts from Russia, was invested by you in the construction of this church.  

Life—for me and for you, sons of the Russian diaspora—life is the struggle for the soul of our people, for the Spirit of God in man. And everything that we do in exile reflects our place in this struggle, everything reflects our worthiness or our uselessness, our loyalty to the highest values: God and Fatherland, or our betrayal of Him, our lack of spirituality, and therefore our nothingness.  

We thank the Lord that, this far from our Homeland, He yet gives us strength to reject any “foreign gods,” to preserve our recognition and vibrant understanding that without standing firm in the Orthodox Church, the Russian person is nothing, and his life becomes a toy in the hands of the “ancient slayer of man,” or, at best, he becomes empty, and, wandering off into political or social activity, becomes as a “tinkling cymbal,” that is, he becomes nothing but noise.  

No one will know of all the labors we had to endure over this last decade, especially in trying to organize a modest spiritual center in Casablanca. Few believed that we would succeed in this holy task, which was called for but disregarded as early as 1948. We grieve for those who, in the work of creating a Russian spiritual hearth in Casablanca, abandoned the fulfillment of their holy duty before the Church and their compatriots: of 430 families in our community, 190 ignored our call to participate in this holy work. 

“United, people of Russia, I am relying on you,” said the Tsar-Martyr once. His call, as the call of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, to unite EVERYONE under the banner of All Russian Saints, went unheeded. And now, the Russian people are wandering astray, as in the fable by Krylov, and this has continued within the Russian colony in Morocco, and that is why we suffer, for this the time of the salvation of our Fatherland has not yet come.

In conclusion I will say the following: there is an old saying: “Don’t build a church, give an orphan a home instead.”  Thank the Lord, with His help we have given succor to the orphan and built a church, too. I refer, of course, to the fact that for over a year and a half, we supported the family of our late brother in Christ Joseph Jarostchuk, consisting of four souls, and did this deed out of simple love, without fanfare or fuss. By these two works in the name of the Lord Christ, the Russian Orthodox Community in Morocco has crowned its decade here.  

At a meeting devoted to the consecration of the church, the nobleman Petr Nikolaevich Kolarovich, replacing Admiral AI Rusin as Vice President of the Community, said in his speech:  

“While the overwhelming majority of parishioners saw no chance of purchasing a parcel  of land and building church with the funds we collected, a miracle has yet occurred: here  we have now a church, built on a plot of land belonging to us, and therefore, one can say,  to the Russian land… I would like to note another desire of yours, Father.

"When the local press learned about and properly evaluated the spiritual scope of this  joyful event—the opening of a church—and devoted a prominent page in the newspapers  in praise, you, Fr Mitrofan, in a conversation with me said the following: ‘My dream is  that when Russia is reborn, our Dormition Church would become the church for the  future Russian Consulate in Casablanca and that this parcel of land would truly be a part  of Russia soil.’  

This expressed your entire spiritual identity as a servant of God and the Fatherland.”  

From Khronika odnoj zhizni [Chronicle of a Life]