08 January 2014

Interview with the Head of the House of Romanoff in the newspaper Orthodox Thailand

Interview with the Head of the House of Romanoff in the newspaper Orthodox Thailand

Your Imperial Highness, this year marks the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanoff. Celebrations are taking place not only in Russia, but outside of Russia, as well. A number of events are being held in Southeast Asia, arranged by the local Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in the Kingdom of Thailand. The marking of this anniversary here began with the beginning of the construction of a new church in honor of the Royal Passion-Bearers in the city of Hua Hin, and with the erecting of a monument to Emperor Nicholas II and King Rama V (Chulalongkorn). What do you think about all these events?

Of course, I’m very pleased by all of these happenings. It is very important that the 400th anniversary of the ascension of our House to the throne be celebrated in Thailand not only now in this anniversary year—in events that might with time be gradually forgotten—but in a way that will leave a lasting memory of these celebrations, such as the construction of this church and the monument to these two great monarchs.

Emperor Nicholas II visited Thailand and he enjoyed a relationship with King Rama V that was built on feelings of deep mutual respect and understanding. That this new Church to the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers should be built in the city of Hua Hin, where Nicholas II spent time during his visit to Thailand and where today is located the royal summer residence of the king, is to me a deeply meaningful symbol of the friendship between Russia and Thailand and of both our countries’ respect for their common history.

How important is it to preach the Christian Gospel in the countries of Southeast Asia?

Our Lord Jesus Christ instructed us to preach the Good News of the Gospel in all the nations of the world. Indeed, everyone should have the opportunity to hear Christ’s teachings. People can then make up their own minds in their own time. If their heart is drawn to Christ, then they will seek baptism and will become members of the Church. If not, all the same, familiarity with the foundations of Christianity can do no harm to anyone.

In any case, it is precisely a lack of accurate information about others that generates suspicion and intolerance, and which creates the conditions for the unscrupulous manipulation of people who do not know better. It is essential to remember that force and violence are completely alien to Orthodoxy. One of the most outstanding models for preachers of Christianity in Asia is St. Nicholas of Japan, who established the Japanese Orthodox Church. Even during the years of the Russo-Japanese war, he was able to model in his life a genuinely Christian attitude toward the events of his day and to preserve Orthodoxy in Japan, in no way whatsoever betraying his own country and, at the same time, not challenging the patriotism of Orthodox Japanese.

We need to give people the opportunity to learn about our faith, and to let God’s Will take care of the rest. I know that in Thailand the clergy of our Church, led by Archimandrite Oleg (Cherepanov), are in a very sensitive and delicate position. At the same time, King Rama IX, government officials, and society at large in Thailand show enormous respect and good will toward the Orthodox Church. We must continue to cherish these harmonious relations, squelch any possible conflicts, and firmly hold to the belief that love conquers all, and that there is no better sermon that one can give than one’s example of living the Gospel.

What do you believe is the importance of commemorating the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers for society and for the upbringing of current generation of young people?

The Church canonized the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers because of their deep faith in God, their loyalty to their country and people, and their devotion to each other. These are qualities that are essential for all people in all times.

In our day, when we are witnessing the decline of all traditional values and of the very foundations of morality, when some authorities seek to deprive humanity of its ability to distinguish between good and evil and are instead affirming a kind of “Hottentot morality,” the bright example of the members of the Royal Family, their courage in the face of suffering and death, their ability to forgive and repent—all these qualities stand as a shining example for a great many people of all ages, nationalities, social backgrounds, and socio-political beliefs.

Orthodox Thailand, no. 6, 2014, pp. 4-5.

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