To a large proportion of today's people, the feat of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers is still a subject of misunderstanding. Many continue to second-guess the choices of the last Russian Tsar. Yet the only perspective from which one can judge his actions fairly is that of the Gospel. The Russian emperor was following its teachings as much as possible, while critics with only a cursory knowledge of it or with a literal understanding of its text, rebuke the Tsar with weakness and indecision and consider him responsible for the Russian monarchy's collapse. That is a great misconception.
The Russian monarchy was falling apart because the teachings of the Gospel had not entered deep into people's hearts. Religion was taught in every school, and Orthodoxy was prominent, and so were many other aspects of church and spiritual life. However, as the New Holy Martyr John Vostorgov wrote, Russia was nearing a storm. Its people's faith was weak; sectarianism and drunkenness were widespread. Worship services were becoming increasingly brief and fast. God's wrath was imminent. And so it struck.
Contrary to what many are saying, the Russian royal family was not the cause of the upheaval. It happened because the life of the Russian society was not sufficiently grounded in the Gospel. The latter was particularly true of the elites, who were spending their time at balls and parties. The emperor's religious life, including his hard work for the canonisation of Saint Serafim of Sarov, made him an alien and strange figure for the top brass. Their desires and aspirations lay elsewhere.
The emperor was doing his best. Eventually, he realised that his actions could result in great loss of life among his people, and yielded to pressure. However, even this episode in history has many uncertainties. Did he sign the abdication? Did somebody else draft the document sign it for Nicholas II, and ascribed the signature to him? The multitude of uncertainties should not surprise us, as evil always thrives on them. It depends on lies and distortions to appear more attractive than it truly is.
History tends to repeat itself after some time. We owe it to ourselves to draw relevant conclusions from the lessons of history. Holy Royal Passion-Bearers, pray to God for us!
No one can get to the Kingdom of Heaven without learning to live in the spirit. What a formidable challenge! No one should underestimate its scale. To meet it, we need the daring and courage that come from the Lord.
God's love resurrects the world to eternal life. We are taking part in this resurrection because we are members of the Church. When we forget about Christ in our lives we should plead to Him: "Lord help us!”
Our first step in our journey of Divine Ascent is to overcome our dependence on the material things of this world, to dissociate ourselves from them.
Living in God gives us the freedom to be ourselves. So let us throw off our masks by becoming more genuine and sincere. Let us own up to our weaknesses and admit our need for transformation.
Daniel met God, and to him, it was a life-changing moment. The Lord did not wish to make him poor or homeless. He only wanted him not to pride himself on his goodness and to follow His way.
In the Gospel, many people gather around Christ. Yet only one of them is healed. Today, we took the Body and Blood of Jesus in us. He gives us true healing, and we need no other.
He did not arrive in a chariot, or a limousine, not even on a colt. He came on a donkey. We need to be like children to believe it.