митрополит Антоний Су́рожский (Блум)

Remembrance Day

Sunday 12 November 1989

(We shall now keep a few minutes of) silence in memory of those who have lost their lives in the course of the many strives and wars of the last century, and long, long before, ever since hatred, greed and fear have taken (hold) of the people of God. Let us be quiet.

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

God in Christ has taken upon Himself the burden of the world; not our createdness, but our sin, our separation from God, our inner dividedness, and indeed, indeed – our inner strife, all the greed, all the hatred, all the fear of mankind culminating in the creation of the kind of world which history presents to us and which we know from our own experience.

He has taken all the burden upon Himself; He remained pure, He remained sinless, but the burden was so heavy that He had to die under its weight. And it is the weight of our world, our own weight which has broken Him and brought Him to death.

How more tragic it appears to us when we think of the way in which we had put, and put daily, day in day out, the burden of evil, the evil within us, the evil in our midst upon the shoulders of other people, of people who are like Christ, victims of this evil but who had the frailty of creatures, the debility of creatures that are wounded by sin unto death.

We remember today those who have died since the very world began (begun (?) – not only in the last wars; we remember those who have died since the world begun because mankind is possessed of greed, of selfishness on the part of the ones, of resentment, of bitterness, of the desire of revenge on the part of the others, of fear on all sides, and of hatred on all sides. And this is what we put on the shoulders of one another, not only at the moments of war, but in the course of all history which is made of tension, of strife, of competition, which is made of the fear of the ones and the hatred of others, of the hunger of the ones and the arrogant opulence of others. One of the Fathers has said that war is born of an evil peace; yes! Evil peace: can we speak of peace, when we think of our world, of our own society, of all the tensions, the hatred, the violence, the jealousy, all that divides and sets one person against the other? And are we surprised then (?) moments when the sum total of all this evil results in murder? In murders in the streets, but also in that murder which we call ‘war’...

Saint Basil the Great in one of his letters says that no Christian has a right to fool himself free from responsibility for the wars, because, he says, if we were Christians in reality and not only in name, love would have triumphed, and war, inner strife and international struggle between nations would have been impossible...

When we think of the millions of people who have died because of prejudice, of greed and hatred, of blindness, and when we think of our responsibility, now for all that is going on in the world – indeed, we have got to stand before God condemned by our own conscience...

And we remember today those who have died, whom we, or our parents, or our ancestors – what does it matter! – have sent unto death, commanded to die, forced into death, and those who of their own free will, in the likeness of Christ, have chose (?) to take upon their shoulders the consequences of evil and die of it, die in pain, die in fear, some with faith and hope, and some without hope and without faith, but all, all of them knowing that they will never see again the face of all those whom they have loved so much as to die for their sake...

And can we forget also those who are left behind? Can we live in such a way that mothers who have blessed their sons to die that we may live, wives who have let their husbands go to die, children who have been left alone without a father who had been killed by us – can we not remember them? Are we going to lead such lives that they will think: These men, these women don't even remember what it cost to us to have given them our husbands and our fathers, and our beloved ones? And this doesn't apply only to men – how many women have given their lives in the same way? How many people have died in prisons, in concentration camps, murdered throughout the world, how many people have died of the hunger and misery that follows a war – are we going to stand (there), and say, It was not m y concern, I was not born then?..

It is frightening to think that we can pass by people who have lost e v e r y t h i n g that was dear to them, the dearest people, the most precious people, have lost them in the hope that others may live – and we pass them by, we forget: this is the past!

We will pray now for those who have lost their lives, people whom we, or our parents, or our ancestors, that doesn't matter, have sent into death, condemned to die that we may live; but – it's not enough to pray! If we pray sincerely, if we stand before God as witnesses of the fact that we are responsible, and if we stand before God witnessing to the fact that they have given their lives or that their lives have been stolen from them, torn out of them, we must also make a resolve to make of our society a society of peace, not of the false peace which is a balance between hatreds and fears, resentments and greed – no! An other society: a society in which all this is o v e r c o m e! These men, these women, these children who have died of the hatred that is abroad in our midst, of the cowardice, of the greed, of the fears that are rampant in our midst – these people we must remember with awe, and we must say that never shall we create a world of that kind... And it is not in vain that I mentioned Christ taking our burden. Yes, l i k e Christ they have died of the burden. Christ rose; they are still in the tombs, waiting for the day of the resurrection; Christ have conquered – they have only been seemingly defeated. Seemingly – or not? Seemingly only if we do not receive the message of their lives and deaths, if we do not become worthy of the death of these men, of these women, and of the lives of these men, of these women, but also of the pain and agony of those whom they left behind. We must live in such a way that those widows, those wives, those mothers should say, ‘Yes – they have given their lives; but it is not in vain! We gave them to those people and those people have understood the message of love, of sacrificial, Christ-like love, of love crucified... Unless we do this, we have betrayed them, and we are preparing, perhaps not for our generation, but for the next one the same horror which has engulfed millions of people...

Let us therefore pray, pray for God to receive them as martyrs, pray to God to receive us in repentance, pray to God to give us courage, and honesty, and inspiration s o to live that they should not have died in vain; and let us not only pray, but overcome in us, in the kind of peace that exists between us, every seed of death, of hatred, of destruction. Let us remember that we wish evil to someone, whenever we wish someone, O, if he only did not exist, darken my life, – we are nursing the thoughts of Cain, n o t the thoughts of Christ...

Let us beware! We will answer to God for the world which we are making, and for the world which we are giving to those who are still children, or yet unborn... And let us also hope that those who have given their lives will pray for us, that their death should not be in vain, that we should understand with all the (?) of our heart, all our being – and become new, as Christ said: I make all things new! – but not without us. Amen!

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