Patriarch Prays for All "Willing to Risk Their Lives for the Safety of Russia."
Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church consecrated a church dedicated to Grand Duke Vladimir on the 6th November, 2022. The Church, located in Balashikha in the Moscow region is to serve as the main church of the troops of the Russian National Guard.
An Honour Guard was assembled on the square in front of the temple. The Director of the Federal National Guard Troops of the Russian Federation, Army General V.V. Zolotov, together with the command staff of the Federal Guard Service and clergymen met His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at the western gate of the church.
The Patriarch offered prayers of thanksgiving for those willing to risk their lives for the safety of Russia and blessed the troops present with their commanders. In a short sermon, he prayed for a swift end to the “internecine strife,” referring of course to the Special Military Operation in Ukraine.
The National Guard of Russia is organized differently from what one may expect in America. Russia’s National Guard troops were established in 2016 and are answerable directly to the President of the Russian Federation. They are technically not part of the military or reserves, as American National Guard troops are. Like Italian Carabinieri, they are something between a police officer and a soldier, often used as extra border security, or as security at internal checkpoints or at sites of sensitive national interest. They could be called on for instance in a riot or terrorist situation that was beyond the capacity of local police. They are rarely deployed outside of Russia, for example to provide police services to the traumatized and disrupted regions of Ukraine like the Donbass and Lugansk areas before they were recently integrated into Russia proper.
From at least since the 12th century Russia has built Churches in honor of certain victories or events, for example such as victory over the Mongols or the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, which was built due to the Tsar offering it as a thanksgiving to God for deliverance from the Army of Napoleon. The Main Church of the Russian Armed Forces, built as a memorial to victory over the Nazis in World War 2 and consecrated in 2020, is a grand example of this motif in Russian religious tradition.
A video of the Patriarch’s sermon with good subtitles in English is provided below. A second video, although less helpful for those who do not speak Russian, shows better the beautiful views of the Church and more of the congregation.