May 6, 2024

Homily on the Name Day of the Most Pious Empress Alexandra Feodorovna - 1905 (St. John of Kronstadt)

Homily on the Name Day of the Most Pious Empress Alexandra Feodorovna

By St. John of Kronstadt

(Delivered on April 23, 1905)

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:4).

Today the Church celebrates the glorious memory of the Holy Great Martyr George and the Martyr Empress Alexandra, the former wife of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and all of Imperial Russia celebrates the name day of the royal wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. The Holy Empress Alexandra suffered for her firm confession of Christ as the true God when she looked at the inhuman cruel torture of the Great Martyr George by the executioners. The emperor condemned her to death. This was during the persecution of Christians in the 3rd century. The whole pagan and Jewish world then took up arms with ferocity against the confessors of the name of Christ. To incline them to the pagan faith, the most cunning ingratiations and promises of earthly benefits and the most terrible tortures and torments were invented and used. There seemed to be no more terrible torment left than those that, in multitudes, up to a thousand types, were newly invented specifically for Christians. Today's throwing of deadly, explosive projectiles would then be considered a mercy for the martyrs if they were used against them - compared with the torture and torment of that time.

And all these countless and varied, terrible persecutions and torments, sometimes very long, Christians endured with joy and with bright faces, so that the pagans who looked at these torments were amazed at their indestructible patience and thought that they remained invulnerable from them with the help of magical power.

For whom, for what, for what good did the martyrs and confessors suffer so much? For the right, true faith, brought from heaven to earth by the Hypostatic Word of God Himself, by the very incarnate Truth - for Christ, the Lamb of God, who suffered death on the cross for the world; they suffered for the sake of the future eternal life, in order to eternally contemplate the ineffable, uncreated Goodness and Beauty of the Face of God, or the three Persons of the one Divinity, and eternally glorify them with the Angels and saints - and taste the eternal blessedness for which man was created.

The Lord Himself, for whom the martyrs suffered, strengthened them invisibly with the omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit, so that it seemed that it was not they who were suffering, but someone else. And none of those who were martyred for Christ were deceived in their hope for future reward and future eternal life; they all received crowns of incorruptibility, eternal life and glory, so that their very bodies and bones are fragrant to this day and exude countless miracles for believers and those who honor them.

Comparing the present time with those long past times, and the present unbelief, foolishness and indifference, even contempt for their faith of so-called Christians, you cannot be quite amazed at such an absurd and terrible state of people who have departed from God and thought of Him as allegedly unfaithful in His Word, and those who attract His righteous wrath. And it flared up terribly at Russia, which had lost faith; this bloody test of its protracted and debilitating Japanese war for the entire state is a clear outpouring of the righteous wrath of God on us. The Russians have abandoned their God and worship their darkened mind, or rather the absurd satanic mind, which has perverted the entire moral law and all the correct understanding of things, and therefore they do all sorts of inappropriate things. If we do not correct ourselves, the wrath of God will mercilessly strike and destroy us and our property. And now a new visitation of God is coming to Russia, a new wrath of God, a pestilence. Although measures are being taken against it, the hand of God will find its victims among us and snatch them from among us - for the fear and the edification of others.

Oh, how dear a treasure of life many of today’s Christians of all classes of Russians have lost, the treasure of true, all-saving faith in Christ, our true God and Savior, who came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). Without Christ, no one will be saved from the righteous wrath of God forever and ever; for there is only one Mediator for God and men, Christ Jesus. And from the loss of the treasure of true faith and wisdom, people have gone completely mad and do not know what they are doing. The world has never seen such madness in the actions of people, as was recently the case in our capital and in many cities. And such madmen strive by force to govern the country, to the advisory, state chamber. But they would destroy the country and trample upon all the laws by which well-ordered states are governed. May the Lord, who entrusts the power of kingdoms to His chosen ones, protect us from such public misfortune. "By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice" (Prov. 8:15), says the Lord.

May strong in faith, reasonable, far-sighted and courageous kings reign in Russia until the end of the ages. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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