On September 1st, the feast of the Donskoy Icon of the Mother of God, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Great Cathedral of the Donskoy Stauropegial Monastery in Moscow. At the conclusion of the Liturgy he addressed the faithful, exhorting them to fight the good fight against the evil of this world, and especially against the devil’s propaganda which seeks to call good evil and evil good.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
To all of you, dear Most Reverend Bishops, Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters, I heartily congratulate you on this great feast for the city of Moscow and for our Church. We pray today before the Donskoy Icon of the Mother of God, recalling the marvelous events, which are connected with the prayer of our pious ancestors before this image. And especially memorable are the two events in the history of our people, when the prayer before the Donskoy Icon saved our country.
The first time this miracle occurred was in the year 1380 at Kulikovo Field, when a decisive battle was to be fought against those who occupied the land of Russia, who exploited its resources, ravaging the land, and not only the land, but also the life of the people. Because poverty is very often accompanied by vices, and the long years of foreign yoke, undoubtedly, affected the lives of people. And so, Prince Dmitry Donskoy decides to fight on the Kulikovo field against those who for centuries dominated our land. As historians testify, the force was on the other side and the risk was huge, because if Russia did not win, it would have been simply doomed to destruction. It was about whether or not our country and our people were to be.
Then, in 1380 the Don Cossacks brought to Kulikovo Field this very icon in front of which we pray, and Dmitry Donskoy and all our army bowed their knees before this image. Yes, perhaps all our people fervently prayed then, either mentally or physically before this icon, that the decisive battle would bring victory to Russia. And despite the superior forces of the enemy, the battle was won - undoubtedly by the power of God, as well as by the courage of our soldiers. For the Horde it was the first defeat, but for Russia it was proof that we can fight the foreign yoke and have the power to defeat it.
And the second event is associated with the city of Moscow. In the year 1591, the Crimean Khan Giray stands on the Sparrow Hills. The defenses of Moscow were no match for the forces of the Crimean horde, and it probably could not have occurred to Khan Giray that the city in front of his eyes could somehow resist, much less damage his mighty army. But what happened here, in this place, where we are standing now? There was a special prayer service before the Donskoy Icon of the Mother of God. Everyone who could, came to pray and ask for help from the Most Holy Mother of God, because the Muscovites also recognized the might of those who looked with contempt upon our city and who had every opportunity to destroy Moscow, to destroy the people and for many centuries plunge our homeland back into slavery. Let us put ourselves in the place of the Muscovites of that time. With what strength of faith, they came to this image! How they asked the Mother of God to deliver the city, and therefore the whole country, from the invasion of foreigners, from ruin, from violence, from pillaging, from fires, from death, from destruction! And what happened? A miracle took place, which probably no outside observer at the time believed.
Even today, people who are far from the faith cannot rationally explain our victory over Khan Giray in 1591. Today, most people are guided in their lives not by faith, not by God's commandments, but by a rational approach: if it is profitable, then it is necessary to do so. Moral criteria are not the business modern politics at all. But has anything changed since those ancient times? Armaments and military strategy have changed, but prayer is still a great power, on one condition: if we believe. If we have doubts, even more so if we are perplexed about the very possibility of faith in God, no miracle will happen. Because God only enters human history, changes its course, and enters people's personal and social lives when we ask Him for it in deep faith.
Today such times have come when we must especially ask the Lord for help for our Fatherland. Indeed, there is a struggle between good and cosmic evil. Why do we say that? Because the justification of sin is the work of the devil. The devil needs to destroy the middle point between good and evil, to confuse the concepts, and this is exactly what is happening today! People do not distinguish between what is good and what is evil, because powerful propaganda forces are working worldwide, forming this worldview. This is what the dark force counts on: if people stop distinguishing between good and evil, then they will belong to evil, without any compromise.
What prevents the final victory of evil? It is opposed by the Lord Jesus Christ, His divine power, revealed in the faith of His followers, His disciples. And as long as there is an unshakable faith among His disciples and followers that the Lord is Lord of history, that the fate of the universe is in His hands, that faith in God is a prerequisite for the survival of human civilization, then will the human race be preserved.
In this sense, our country has a special mission today. We are one of the few, who calls evil as evil, and good as good, who does not allow the powerful propaganda forces to mix these concepts, so that people do not distinguish between good and evil. Indeed, a terrible notion is being imposed on us; that there is no good and evil, but instead models of human behavior, and everyone has the right to choose the model that suits him. And if that model contradicts God's will, God's moral law, the one that Israel found on Mount Sinai, the one that was brought to the world by Christ the Savior - then how should we act? The well-bred, intelligent people do not answer such a question, but the less well-bred and intelligent ones say directly what they think of us. So, what is happening today is really part of a very important struggle, a cosmic struggle between good and evil. And God grant that, through the prayers of the saints who have shone forth in our land, our people, despite all temptations and influences, retain their Orthodox faith, their faith in the Lord and Savior, in the Protection of His Immaculate Mother, and thus their ability to distinguish good from evil, their ability to be truly free people. For to freedom you were called, brothers, says the Apostle (Galatians 5:13).
Bearing all this in mind, let us keep the Orthodox faith as the greatest sacred and most precious treasure. And to those who have not yet fully believed, I appeal: the times have come when we cannot pretend that nothing is happening, when we must make a choice of worldview, on which depends not only the personal life of the one who makes this choice, but the very existence of our Fatherland.
Praying before the miraculous Donskoy icon of the Mother of God, remembering the great heroic events of our national history, connected with the struggle of our people for freedom and independence, let us be worthy of our great ancestors. In the present circumstances, let us hope just as firmly for the Protection of the Most Pure Mother of God, let us offer up our fervent prayers to Her image, let us love our Fatherland and be just as ready to defend it, if necessary. And we believe that God will be with us, because we have the truth on our side. Some may be surprised and say: why so? The answer is simple: because we try to live by God's truth, by God's law, by the commandments, and if we break them, because of human weakness, we do not suddenly renounce these commandments as the basic law of human life. And as long as it remains so, our Fatherland and the independence and freedom of our people will remain.