28 October 2017

A Requiem (Panikhida) Service to be held in the Epiphany Cathedral for the Victims of the Civil Unrest on November 4, 2017

On November 4, 2017, on the official Day of National Unity, in Moscow, the traditional commemoration service for those who perished in all the civil wars in our country will be held.

In 2009, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the custom was established of holding a requiem service for those who had died in various civil wars in our country and who had died while in exile. 

For many years, these commemoration services took place in the Church of the Sign of the Most Pure Mother of God, on Romanov Lane in Moscow.  This service has now become customary on this national holiday, and it is attended by representatives of a wide range of social organizations, all united by a common desire to acknowledge the sorrowful consequences of Russia’s various fratricidal conflicts.  Among those who attend we invariably see the descendants of both “Reds” and “Whites” from Russia’s Civil War, who pray together for the repose of the souls of their ancestors and for the forgiveness of all their transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary.

The Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, from the start enthusiastically welcomed this act of reconciliation and peacemaking by the Holy Church.  In her Address to those participating in the first requiem service in 2009, Her Imperial Highness wrote: 

“The main result and lesson of the past tragic century for us should be a clear awareness of the fact that godlessness and inhumane evil, mutual extermination, hatred and falsehood can never be justified in the pursuit of a goal, no matter how desirable that goal may seem to be. Every side in the great Troubles of the twentieth century had its own truth and its own falsehood, its own ideals and its own selfish interests, its own heroes and its own villains. But, at the end of the day, everyone suffered from the Revolution: both those who lost and those who won. Yesterday’s executioners became the next day’s victims, and many of those who survived and seemed even to find themselves in positions of power and privilege, nonetheless turned out to be defective spiritually and morally. We should forget nothing about this time, so that we do not repeat these mistakes. We should strive to make right the evil that was done. But we should also have the capacity to forgive and to ask forgiveness. For the sake of future generations, we must learn first and foremost to find in the past and in the present not those things that have divided us, but those things that can unite us, each and every one of us.”

This year, we mark with particular sorrow the tragic events of 100 years ago.  While there has been a call to repentance and mutual forgiveness from the Russian Orthodox Church, the Romanoff dynasty, the spiritual leaders of Russia’s other traditional religious confessions, and the leaders of other civically responsible and engaged institutions and organizations, there have also been attempts to generate public criticism of these commemorations in the larger public, and calls for new confrontations in Russian society today.

It is therefore particularly important that this year the tradition of holding these commemorative services for the victims of civil strife be supported by all who hold the future of our country dear, with the descendants of both sides in these conflicts standing side-by-side in prayer. 

In October 2017, the Chancellery of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, requested that His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia again bless the holding of this hierarchical commemorative service on November 4, 2017, in one of the cathedrals of Moscow.

His Holiness, having examined the request, offered his blessing for the service on the Feast of the Icon of the Kazan Mother of God, which corresponds with the Day of National Unity holiday—November 4, 2017—in the Epiphany (Bogoiavlenskii) Cathedral, after the Divine Liturgy.  His Holiness has blessed His Eminence Metropolitan Valentin (Mishchuk) to officiate at the requiem service.

All our countrymen, who wish to pray for the repose of the souls of their ancestors who perished and suffered during the years of tribulation, and for civil peace in our country now and in the future, are warmly invited to attend.

The Divine Liturgy will begin at 9:30 AM. 

The address of the cathedral is:  Moscow, ul. Spartakovskaya, 15 (“Baumanskaya” metro station).

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