New York, June 24, 2013
Ahead of the anniversary, the first Hierarch of the Russian Church outside of Russia Metropolitan Hilarion addressed his flock, calling upon it to gather for celebrations in the town of Jackson (New Jersey) where there is a Russian Church dedicated to Holy Prince Vladimir, reports the website of ROCOR.
"Many of our clergy and believers are of various—non-Russian—backgrounds but they have accepted customs and traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church with all their heart. Let us not yield to temptation of dividing our diocese according to cultural groups. For, being sons and daughters of the Russian Orthodox Church, we are all citizens of Holy Russia," said Metropolitan Hilarion in his address.
He explained that "When we speak about Holy Russia we mean not the Russian Federation or any other civil society on the Earth, but the lifestyle passed on to us over the centuries by such great saints of the Russian land as Holy Prince Vladimir and Holy Princess Olga, Saints Sergius of Radonezh, Job of Pochaev, Seraphim of Sarov, and those closer to us in time—the millions of New Martyrs and Confessors of the 20th century".
Metropolitan Hilarion reminded all that the Russian Church was the first to send missionaries to America, and today their work should be continued, "So that the light of Christ should shine brighter and brighter on the great American land," and for this it is necessary "to return to one's roots and to look into the past".
The Metropolitan is convinced that "Today America needs not just "Russia" but "Holy Russia", because only that Russia is of a real spiritual value."
The day of Baptism of Russia is celebrated annually on July 28. This year, the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia concurs with the 75th anniversary of the Russian Church in New Jersey built in honor of the grand prince and baptizer of Russia, St. Vladimir.