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The Whole Russian Orthodox Church Officially Honours the Saints of the Isles

Today, Tuesday 21 August 2007, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has officially recognized the Feast of the Saints of the Isles. (See our Service to these Saints on this website under ‘Hisperica Liturgica’ – Western Liturgica). This Feast is in honour of the Saints who lived in Great Britain and Ireland before the Western Schism of 1054. This was when most of Western Europe tragically split off from the Church, thus founding Roman Catholicism and later the myriad of sects which grew up from this.

The Feast will be observed, as it already has been for many years in parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and elsewhere, on the third Sunday after Pentecost. The Synod has also decided that these Saints' names should be included in the Church Menologion, once their lives and exploits have been studied.

The Synod’s decision follows the appeal of 3 March 2007, when the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain and Ireland of the Diocese of Sourozh, petitioned His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II and the Holy Synod of the Russian Church to give official recognition to the Feast of the Saints of the Isles.

Once again, we see how the work begun by the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in New York is being completed in Moscow. First, in 2000, His Holiness and the Synod in Moscow recognized and completed the ROCOR canonization of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia of 1981. Now it is recognizing the Local Saints of the Western Lands, who previously had not been known or venerated in Russia, but had been venerated since the 1970s in ROCOR.

This decision is clearly a historic turning-point. The Local Saints of the Western Lands now begin their entry into the calendar of the whole Russian Orthodox Church. This is a sign of the universalism or catholicity of the Russian Church. It is also, we must add, the recognition of our thirty-three years of unceasing struggle against both the forces of ecumenistic modernism and ritualistic conservatism. We well remember how the persecution and mockery that we faced from both extremes in the 1970s, when there was virtually no sympathy for our cause. Later we recall how our writings on them had to be published at personal sacrifice, in order to make these Saints of God known. This is once more the victory of the royal path of moderation, victory over the spiritual death of extremes. We pray and hope that the Local Saints of other Western Lands will now also make their entry into the consciousness and calendar of the whole Church of Rus.

God is wonderful in His Saints! Glory to Thee, our God, Glory to Thee!


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