Sharing the impressions of his stay in Tobolsk, His Holiness recalled the “heroism, unprecedented in the history of human civilization,” of the Russian explorers who conquered the vast expanses of Siberia and the Far East. The Primate stressed that the people who traveled thousands of miles through swamps, marshes, and forests, were impelled not by the desire for greed or glory, but by the spiritual strength that is nurtured by the Church “in every church and every monastery.”
Patriarch Kirill continued: “The religious life is primarily work, the hard work of improving oneself. And these people passed through a similar spiritual school. They were heroes of the spirit. They had an inner motive that formed as a result of this spiritual work, straightening and pushing forth like a catapult. Like a rocket, overcoming the Earth’s gravity and breaking into space, our ancestors walked forward. They were able utterly and completely to give themselves up to this. This ability creates a religious feeling, while modern civilization imposes a completely different lifestyle—not to give, but rather to take.
“The Church today takes on the special responsibility of going against the current. Every priest today is largely responsibility not only for his parishioners but, through them, for our Motherland’s fate—he is struggling at the front lines for the greatness and dignity of our country. We must preserve the spiritual and cultural sovereignty of our homeland because, without it, geographical and political sovereignty do not mean a thing. That is precisely why it is important to unite our faith with our life, retaining the ability to become heroes,” emphasized the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“Heroism is to accompany us every day. We have to limit ourselves in something for others – for the sake of our wife or husband, children, parents and friends, for the sake of those with whom we communicate. Without such heroism, there is no genuine human life—only the struggle for survival on the biological level remains. The ability to sacrifice—that is heroism, that is what the Church teaches,” asserted His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill.