Dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings as we celebrate the memory of our Venerable Father, Sergei, the Wonderworker of Radonezh, the “Abbot of All Russia”, cherished among our monastic saints, with his shrine in the Trinity-St Sergius Lavra as the visible sign of his place in the piety, spirituality, faith and hearts of the Russian Orthodox faithful.
Egypt had St Athony the Great and the God-bearing fathers of the Thebaid; Palestine had St Savas; Athos had St Athanasius the Athonite; Kievan Rus had Saints Anthony and Feodosy; and as the father of Muscovite monasticism St Sergei embodies the ascetic life of the forested desert to which he and his brother monastics fled to escape the world and climb to heaven, becoming earthly-angels and heavenly men.
All of the venerable fathers and mothers call us to the struggle of Christian living, in as much the podvig they embraced should be reflected in the lives of ALL Christians: non-acquisitiveness, stability, prayer, fasting, continence and watchfulness of body, mind and soul.
Their lives were a prism that focussed the characteristics that should be manifest in our own lives, in which we too, like them, should struggle so that the likeness of Christ might not only be restored in us, but touch the world with the light and life that finds its origin in Him Who is our eternal Light and Life.
Across the centuries, across borders, languages and cultures, St Sergei calls us all to holiness, which is the calling of all who have been baptised into Christ. With him and all of the saints, let us put on Christ: alleluia.
Venerable and God-bearing Father, Sergei, pray to God for us!
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark