VICTORIOUS DEFEAT – Иверский Орский женский монастырь



Archpriest Sergiy Baranov

Saint John of Kronstadt Cathedral of Gai


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!

   Today is the end of the first week of Great Lent. This week the Church celebrates the Triumph of Orthodoxy. The Triumph of Orthodoxy over heresy. We can also say “victory” instead of triumph. Once, the Church gained the final victory over the iconoclastic heresy and established the truthful confession of the faith in Christ, which is specified in the “Symbol of Faith” and which is immovable and unchangeable. Today the Church of Christ won and it won despite everything. The Orthodox Church has existed for two thousand years and it wins throughout this time despite everything. 

Why do I use this word “despite?” Because all of this began with our First Feat Performer Jesus Christ. How did He win? He won by being crucified on the cross. Hell exuberated, all of the evil powers exalted thinking that they defeated the Son of God. They managed to confuse the minds and hearts of people and took possession of their arms because evil powers are fleshless spirits and they need someone’s hands to commit evil. Therefore, they confused those faithful people, the Lawyers and Pharisees, the Israeli people, so that they gave them their hands for this atrocity. The Israelites crucified the Lord, the Lord Who had healed the sick people, lepers, returned vision, and multiplied loaves only a couple of days before. Suddenly, the same people crucified Him. Moreover, they do not just crucify but also blaspheme Him standing under the Cross, when He was dying in inhuman conditions. They allowed themselves to say such a blasphemy, “Physician, heal yourself”* and spat on Him. How insane should one be to not sympathize with a dying person, even if you do not understand this person!  

Hell triumphs. It has got what it needed. Hell triumphs and does not suspect that right from the Cross, Christ will descend exactly to hell.  He will go to hell and take all the Old Testament righteous people with Him. He will destroy and scatter the chains that held the righteous. At this moment, the great triumph of evil powers turns into great despair. Despair up to hysterics. They were wrong. They thought they had won. This was the foundation of our Church.  

Further and always, it was also this way, always despite everything. Why is it so? Because our Christian faith, the faith of love, compels us to long-suffering and everlasting forgiveness. We will bear a little more, and a little more, and a little more now… Both evil powers and human ones that are devilizing, are inspired by hell. They do not realize that our “bear a little more” is like the compression of a spring. The spring tightens and tightens and tightens and tightens but then it will extend outwards. 

It is very sad that a part of our Russian people, a big part of young people, are taken with some ancient Russian paganism. They say this is the faith of our ancestors, it gives us strength, while Christianity is the religion of the weak. Perhaps, these young people did not at all learn History at school. They do not know such names like Alexander Nevsky, who was Orthodox, Dmitry Donskoy, who was also Orthodox, Alexander Vasilievich Suvorov, an Orthodox man, Saint Orthodox Admiral Feodor Ushakov, and even the last one, Marshall Zhukov, who also was Orthodox. Were they weak people? They were great people. They were great, and the foundation of their power and strength was, first of all, based on the absence of anger. They won without hysterics or anger; they did it in truth, composedly, resolutely and unconquerably.  

Satan is a blinded person. Therefore, he is shortsighted. He cannot see the perspective. It seems to him that today’s, this moment’s victory is final. He does not even suspect that all martyrs who existed throughout the Orthodox history, tortured by madding people inspired by the powers of hell, all these martyrs accepted their death and entered into the Divine Light, made this Light stronger and chased the darkness away.  

Someone is triumphing today thinking that he won, but tomorrow he will be in hell. And those whom he was victoriousvover will be in heaven already today. Everything is relative, very relative. Once, Einstein said that everything is relative, and time is relative as well. Regarding the relativity of time, every momentary victory is rather tentative. There is a popular saying, “the day is young” (“down but not out”) Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow is not only the day in our life. After all, tomorrow is what will be in Eternity. This will be our definite, objective and doubtless “tomorrow.” Because everything is connected to time, in which we exist, is changing.   It comes and goes. Why does the Lord say, “The way I find you, this way I will judge you?” This will be the moment of truth. A person brings the state he dies in at a certain time to Eternity, the place without time and change. This is why we should step over the threshold of death in Christ! This way we will be with Christ forever! Meanwhile, those who pass away, having gone mad like satan, bring this state of theirs with them. Time stops, comes into Eternity and freezes forever.  

Today we celebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxy. Let us remember that all our victories were in Christ. Our ancestors – fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfather won in Christ! If a person who is fighting against someone goes into hysterics, goes mad, and winds up, he has already lost. The Faith in Christ has always given us a calm, sober and brave heart, this is why we have fought for thousands of years but no one has ever conquered us! And will never conquer if we are in Christ! Always consider the victory in perspective. See what will be tomorrow, not today. 

Glory to our God, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages! Amen.

*Lk. 4:23