Translated by Scott Hymor
June 16th, the Holy Trinity Day or Descent of the Holy Spirit is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated fifty days after Pascha. Today, the churches around the Ural region read the letter from Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhotursky to the faithful.
Today, on the day of the Holy Trinity, the Archpastoral message of Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhotursky about the situation around the re-construction of St. Catherine’s Cathedral was announced in the churches of the Yekaterinburg metropolis. The appeal refers to the Church’s decision to cancel the plans of reconstruction of the Cathedral of St. Catherine in its historical footprint in the park near the Drama Theater and to rebuild the church in a worthy place of St. Catherine the great Martyr and her Holiness.
“For 89 years Yekaterinburg has been living without a Church dedicated to its heavenly patron. The church’s walls did not interfere with the building of a new just social order, its bells did not extinguish furnaces of steel manufacturers, and its icons did not reduce the yield of wheat. Why did the new government, ostensibly in the interests of workers and peasants, demolished this majestic Cathedral from the face of the earth, not even trying to cover the senselessness of its action with the construction of something in its place? They said that they did not believe in God, but nevertheless fought with Him and His Altars, for according to the word of the Psalmist David, “in his temple all proclaims His glory” (PS 28:9),” – said in Metropolitan Kirill’s Message.
With regret we note that today the protesters against the construction of the Cathedral, say that they don’t protest against the Church, but their deeds show their hatred of the presence of God in our lives.
“It’s not just the church, but it’s God they try force out of their lives. That’s why the Savior who is the fountain of living water, but they claim He is interfering with the fountain; Christ, who sanctified by His footsteps of Gennesaret lake is being exiled from Isetsky pond, and God the Creator who brings “out of the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, and the tree of life in the Paradise” (Gen. 2:9) – in their minds has no place among His own trees.
Christ, Who was born in a cave, because the people had no home for Him, did not find shelter, and then, as He Himself said: “Foxes have holes, and birds of heaven — nests; and the Son of Man has no where to lay his head” (LK. 9: 58).
Thousands years have passed and now we are faced with the question of the place of the Lord and His temple in our lives. Do we wish to repeat with the prophet David, “I shell not give sleep to my eyes, nor slumber to my eyelids, Or rest to my temples: until I find out a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty Jacob” (PS 131: 4-5).”
The appeal says that the confrontation in our city is not a dispute about the placement of religious buildings and structures. In fact, this is the moment when many things become more visible through the crisis. In the confrontation that arose, many showed their true attitude to the Church.
“My words are not about the walls and domes, not about the stones only, although dedicated to God, and they are Holy, but about the living Church, which is made of all hearts faithful to God,” – says the Archpastorare in the Message of . “I speak to those unseen righteous who build the Kingdom of God within themselves. Even so the stone Cathedral of St. Catherine the great Martyr – the Bride of Christ – is absent in this city. But the content will always find a form. There is a true Cathedral of St. Catherine’s children, who are not indifferent to the abomination that has manifested itself in our city, and who will overcome the devil’s temptations with daring prayer, patience and hope. And we were glad to realize that we are one, we are together, we are with God. The true Church of the community of God and human souls is incomparably more valuable than any golden domes.”
The Message also notes the extent to which the events united the faithful: the warm-hearted once again lit the fire of faith, the hesitant before – made a choice, and the true friends became even closer:
“Yekaterinburg manifested itself in the history of our state not only as a city that killed the Holy czar and his innocent children, but also as a city in which there are people who think, who are faithful to the Church, and strong. Despite all the lies of propaganda, through which a weak stream of truth could not break through, nevertheless, it was for the square in front of the drama Theater that the vast majority of proposals were received. And the voices, apparently confident that the citizens do not want a temple constructed in previously institutionalized place, snatching the initiative from each other, in a cowardly need to remove it from the list. Because they are afraid that all the lies of crafty sociological surveys can be refuted by honest and direct voting.”
It is also said that in case of leaving a place at the drama Theater for the direct vote, this option would have all chances to win.
“In an atmosphere of total lies and deception, even the site chosen openly and honestly by the majority of citizens will still cause discord for people who want to wake up an ancient demon of civil strife.
We would not like to give the devil such an opportunity, and therefore with humility to the divine Providence, leading us to Him in one guided ways, we refuse the right to build the Cathedral of St. Catherine in the square at the drama theater,” the appeal emphasizes.
The Message also noted that” we have always wanted only Holiness and peace” – and, yielding once again, we understand that the series of these concessions can not be endless:
“And if the first time is a case, and the second time is a coincidence, the third time is a pattern that we can not ignore. We don’t have any cheeks left that we haven’t put for them to slap.” Believers hope that the current concession is the last one.
“We heard the arguments of the defenders of the square from the church and agreed that the site for the construction of the Cathedral will not be located in any square or on the territory of green spaces, and in general on public territory. We have heard from supporters of the park that their protest is associated with the protection of public lands from development and that the protests would not have occurred if the church began to build on the purchased land. And although we have been repeatedly convinced that we should not believe a single word they say, we will do as they want once again.
We would like our compliance to become an occasion for peace, and not for a new round of confrontation, which nevertheless should not be excluded, because according to the word of St. Isidore Pelusiot: “the Church was at war, but not overpowered, on the contrary, it was triumphant over those who attempted to destroy it. So, what is to be surprised if the saints suffer attacks here? These battlefield makes their victories glorious and the most honest.”.
We do not expect victory over men, but over lies, being called by God himself to bear witness to the truth.
We are grateful to the residents of St. Catherine’s city, who responded to the initiative of the city authorities and sent their proposals on the location of the Cathedral. We are glad that the thesis that the Church, the government and the majority of citizens all differed in their opinions turned out to be a malicious lie of those people who would like it to be so and in fact, who are trying to form this division for lots of money. We want unanimous and inspired work for the benefit of our beloved Fatherland. And we will certainly soon begin the construction of the Cathedral of St. Catherine on a worthy place of her Holiness.
This confidence is not based on human strength, but on the power of the life-giving spirit present in the Church. “The firmness of the Church does not depend on peace with the kings, but on the power of God,” says St. John Chrysostom. And this power is known to accompany the truth for which we are called to stand even to death. All together we make up a single Church of God, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church, as the same Golden-word Saint says: “is The Church in the walls? The Church is in a multitude of believers. That’s how many solid pillars, not iron-reinforced, but bonded by faith.»
“I call on all Christians of our metropolis to be united and not indifferent, because this salt of the earth now needs crystallization,” the message says.
“On this great day of the fiery descent of the Holy Spirit, who gathered us all into the Church of Christ, the ruling Bishop turned to the Yekaterinburg flock with the comforting words of the monk Ephraim the Syrian: “Blessed are you, the Church of the faithful, for the King of kings has established in you His dwelling. Your foundations will never be shaken, for the Lord is your guardian, and the gates of hell will not overcome you, and predatory wolves can not crush or weaken your fortress. Oh, how great you are, house of God! You’re beautiful!”.