In the tradition of the Christian Orthodox Church the second Tuesday after Easter is a special Memorial Day. On that day Patriarch Kirill celebrated the Liturgy in the ancient Archangel Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin where monarchs of the Russian nation have been laid to rest.
After the Liturgy and the memorial service His Holiness, standing at the tombstones of the Russian rulers, addressed the people with a sermon:
We commemorate today our relatives, our loved ones, as well as those who have served the Church and our Motherland…, those who fully committed their lives and energies to the nation and the Christian faith. And we know that among the rulers of the nation who assumed the highest responsibility for our land, there are those who have been canonized by the Church: not just because of their reign, but because of both their reign and their holy life.
This marvelous propensity to combine holiness with honest service and professional duty is an epitome not only of a statesman, but also of everyone bearing responsibility for others. Our holy monarchs and their spouses, grand dukes, princes and princesses should be examples for all those in power today.
The Patriarch noted that every ruler of the land has had his own strengths and weaknesses, reasons for praise and disapproval; however, as he affirmed,
…There was not a single traitor among them. They placed their lives and their destiny entirely in God's hands and devoted themselves to the service of the people. That is why they lie in this beautiful Archangel Cathedral, and when we pray here, we join the historical chain connecting us to our predecessors.
They stood firm for the Russian land, they stood firm for the Orthodox faith, and even the godless Communists who ruled here in the Kremlin failed to destroy the Holy Church – and the Liturgy we celebrate in this Kremlin cathedral bears witness to that.
In conclusion, His holiness addressed the Christian clergy:
Keep in mind that our care of the younger generation is second in importance only to the Holy Eucharist! if we do not pass on the faith over to them, the Lord will punish us severely. Through those laid to rest here the Orthodox faith passed to future generations and reached us, and our sacred duty is to pass on the faith and love for our Motherland to those who will come after us.
Today our prayer is for our nation, that the Lord will protect us from enemies both from outside and from inside, from all those who aim at making money here but don’t care for serving Russia and her people. We must kindle Christian faith in the Russian people, kindle love for the Fatherland, this greatest virtue of service to one’s neighbor as the Lord has commanded: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”.
Below is a complete video recording of the Patriarchal sermon: