His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who is making a visit to the Republic of Belarus, visited the city of Polotsk on June 5, 2022, the 7th Sunday after Pascha, the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, and the commemoration day of St. Euphrosyne, Abbess of Polotsk (1173). The city became the center of the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the founding of the first diocese in the Belarusian lands – the diocese of Polotsk. The official history of the Orthodox Church on the territory of Belarus begins from this event. The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Savior – St. Euphrosyne Convent in Polotsk, after which he delivered a sermon, in which he said, in particular:
“The great gift of the Orthodox faith needs to be strengthened, especially in the hearts of young people. Because young people are under a strong influence of the modern information flow, and the majority have not yet developed a clear criterion, or an ability, to evaluate the things that reach their sight, hearing, or consciousness. That is why youth work is so crucial, and God willing, we will take full advantage of the new opportunities that have opened up. So that the grace of God, through the word of the Church, through the transmission of the Holy Mysteries to our people, would really strengthen both the faith, piety, love for the Fatherland, and love for each other. So that the strife of this world, human sins, untruth, iniquity and crimes would really be overcome.”
“The Venerable Euphrosyne gave us a wonderful example of how a person, who was brilliantly enlightened in those days, became a saint. Isn’t this an example for all those in power? We honor St. Euphrosyne. So let us follow her path, because it is no coincidence that she has been glorified through the ages. Name someone else who is so venerated by the people in Belarus, before whom they bow their knees, to whom they turn their prayers – to the very Euphrosyne who did great good deeds, because the pure in heart will see God.
“How can one keep one’s heart pure? Purity of the heart is the purity of the soul, like that of a child. And what forces are now working to smear this pure soul with mud, to develop vices in the soul! An entire industry works for this – cinema, literature, I won’t go further down the list, you all know what a powerful machine works to ensure that there is no purity in the heart, to ensure that passion, lawlessness, and sin would rule in the heart. The sin, which also passes for heroism or for the right way of life. But the Church insists that the purity of the soul is the most important and fundamental point in the development of the human personality, from which everything else grows.
“May the Lord help us all to keep the Orthodox faith in our hearts, to grow in this faith, to grow in love and respect for each other, in preserving our historical national shrines, and most importantly, in preserving the ideal of holiness, which every Christian must strengthen on their life’s journey towards the Lord. He is the Savior of the world, and with Him we link our salvation both in this life and in the life of the age to come. Amen.”
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