Homily of Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America after Divine Liturgy at Mother of God Cathedral "Joy of All Who Sorrow" in San Francisco in the presence of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna April 25, 2010
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Almost a hundred years have passed since the horrible history of the catastrophic destruction of the Russian Empire. At the same time it is amazing that our traditions, feast days, saints, relics, heroes and truth are still radiant and triumphant.
It is joyful to see and welcome Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, accompanied by Her entourage, to our God-protected city! One can only be exuberant at such an occasion and, thank and praise all those who took part in making Her Imperial Highness’ long-awaited dreams of visiting our Cathedral and venerating the incorrupt relics of St. John a reality.
It is common knowledge that St John was filially loyal to the father of His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich. St John together with many of our most outstanding and glorified archpastors of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia – Metropolitan Anthony, Metropolitan Anastassy, Metropolitan Philaret and the current Metropolitan Hilarion have been one in thought, patriotism and prayer with the August Family. During the life of Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, and before him, his father Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, our archpastors (together with St John, whose relics rest here) were not only in prayerful and spiritual communion with the Russian Imperial House in exile as spiritual mentors and teachers but, through correspondence, were in contact with the entire Imperial House. Whenever a chance arose, our hierarchs would visit the Imperial Residence and the Field Chancellery. On many occasions they would accompany the great and holy treasure of our diaspora, our Hodigitria the Wonder-working Kurst Root Icon of the Mother of God. As with many of the faithful of the Russian diaspora, there is a touching moment between the August Family and our mutual Spiritual Treasure. Let us recall a time when the Sovereign, Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna, (the grandmother of our current Sovereign, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna) with compunction and tears prayed before the Miraculous Image of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God. Then unexpectedly She brought forth a pearl broach and laid it upon the Icon saying, “I ask you to accept this small donation”.
St John, still in his days before monastic tonsure, as a student, was asked by Metropolitan Anthony to write a historical study titled “Emergence of the Laws Regarding Inheritance of the Russian Throne.” The tract was a full compendium of the laws of the Russian Empire and Orthodox tradition. To his dying day, St John supported Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, and after him, Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich. The Archive of the Russian Imperial House piously guards the many letters authored by St John.
Here is an example of how St John wrote to Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, “O Most Pious and Great Sovereign! Shortly before the repose of Your August Parent I wrote to You with a report, as Heir to the Russian Throne, but with His death let me offer to You my always-loyal condolences. It is my duty to once again express my loyalty to the Throne of the Russian Tsars, and to You as Their Lawful Inheritor.”
Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) wrote in his “Epistle to the Immigration” acall upon all to return their hearts to God, the Church, the Tsar and to our own people:
“We…mentioned the Tsar, because such is the spirit of mutual compassion. For the spirit of moral structure in everyday life is only possible in a monarchy with a Christian foundation. Not in conflict for personal gain to the detriment of your neighbor, nor struggle of class, tribe and profession. Only the personal conscience of a man, who professes with exhilaration submission to the Gospel and the Church through the words of the Orthodox Creed, can stand at the helm of governmental life. Neither can a company of temporarily elected persons who fight with one another for dominance but a conscience”.
We live in such a time when monarchy throughout the world has become a rarity, and the nation in which we reside has never known, nor lived with, the spirit of monarchy. However, experience shows that historical dynasties bring benefits in spiritual, cultural, and even in economic terms, to not only monarchical, but also republican and democratic countries. Taking into account the times we live in, it is gratifying to see that the participation of the Russian Imperial House has made life in Russia ascend and flourish in new ways that are based upon tradition. This, together with the renaissance of Orthodox ideals, gives hope and prepares the ground for a resurrected historical Russia.
It is obvious and Providential that the Lord God deigned to keep for the Russian people all that is needed for a fully rehabilitated and corrected governmental structure to flourish. The Lord God protected our Russian Orthodox Church and our people. The Lord did not leave the Church without the resources to be resilient against the foes who would hamper Her freedom and determination. In the same manner, the Lord God also preserved our Russian Imperial House. Let us give thanks to the Lord God for this great mercy toward us. Let us rejoice in these Paschal days, in the year 2010 from our Lord’s Incarnation, that He has allowed us sinners the visit of this Most August Person, Her Imperial Highness, for our communal prayer, our common feast day, and to the Glory of God.
Your Imperial Highness! Allow me on behalf of all here present, from our entire Western American Diocese, to pledge our loyalty to Your Imperial Highness. To one more time show our gratitude, welcome and congratulate you for all your labors to the Glory of God and benefit of our Fatherland – and especially for the great joy and honor that You bestowed upon us with Your most exalted visit.
Once Metropolitan Anastassy expressed to Your father, Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, these words:
“Your Imperial Highness, it has been decreed for You to be the Carrier and Guardian…of the sacred Royal heritage. May this historical candle never be extinguished with intrigues in our troubled and sorrowful days… With this holy hope we call upon You, as the Head of the Russian Imperial House, God’s blessings and with deep reverence we continue to be Your Imperial Highness’ faithfully-loyal servant and zealous supplicator before God”.
Thus, now I call upon God’s blessings on Your Imperial Highness, on Your son Grand Duke George Mikhailovich and on Your August Mother Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna, and I wish Your Imperial Highness strength on Your further labors in Your service to Russia and the Russian people.
Many years! Save, O Christ God!