Sermon by Bishop Mitrophan (Znosko-Borovsky +2002) of Boston
on the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia
Today we celebrate the memory of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, who suffered and were crowned as martyrs at the hands of the atheistic, Satanic regime which to this day, with the open support of the so-called “free world,” represses our Russian nation.
The main characteristic of most of our New Martyrs is that the persecutors subject them to torments not openly and directly for the sake of Christ.
If one of them or another was not persecuted specifically for being a Christian, had he not shown staunchness and bravery in devotion to Christ, he would not have been accused; simply by rejecting faith in God and bowing before the Marxist-Leninist idol, any accusation would be dismissed.
One who had a powerful drive towards God, with love to his Orthodox Fatherland, was our Tsar-Martyr along with his August Family when they were under arrest. Our archpastors burned with zeal for God and their Orthodox Homeland, as did our pastors, many, many soldiers, scholars and workers of the soil. Millions of our New Martyrs bravely confessed their faith in Christ and dedication to Him, and endured horrifying torments as a result.
In our wicked times, the forces of Hell, struggling against God, do not find it useful to make open demands of the martyrs they persecute to deny Christ. Accusations are made against them instead, of which they are innocent. This way, the persecutors preserve a certain appearance: the martyr does not appear to be suffering for Christ. But both the persecutor and victim know full well that all the latter has to do is to openly or implicitly show that he is ready in the mildest form to deny his faith, to drop his brave staunchness, and he will be cleared of charges or released from persecution.
What is it that is demanded of us, brothers and sisters, in our evil times? One thing only: dedication! Dedication to Christ through our dedication to our New Martyrs as examples for us. Apostle Paul said “Remember them which have the rule over you… whose faith follow.”
Those who deny the New Martyrs and Confessors, wherever they may be-whether in enslaved Russia or living in freedom abroad-are succumbing to the militant atheists! Never forget this!
Suffering, too, have been all those who confessed their devotion to Holy Patriarch Tikhon the Confessor, those who did not hide their dedication to or even sympathy for Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II as the Anointed of God, the Christian Sovereign, and His August Family. Denial of them was equal to denial of Christ.
All the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia are shining examples to us, showing to us the path that destroys the works of the devil, the enemies of Christ and of our Orthodox Fatherland. They all now stand at the Divine Altar, lifting prayers for us and our earthly Homeland.
Every Russian Orthodox family must now see to it that in their home must be a book devoted to the New Martyrs. In every Orthodox family the parents must teach their children about their lives and sufferings. In our wicked days, it is important to return to the ancient practice of reading the Lives of Saints in each family, especially of those closest to us, the New Martyrs of Russia. Amen.