Saint Archbishop Averky (Taushev) – On the Apostolic Work of Prince St. Vladimir.
Why is St. Vladimir eternally dear to us?
Because he brought us into communion with faith in Christ and gave us, Russians, the true Church of Christ. What is this faith in Christ and true Church and what is its significance for us?
This is clearly revealed to us in the touching prayer offered by St. Vladimir at the sacred moment when the Mystery of Baptism was performed for the Russian people, when, in the words of the pious chronicler, truly heaven and earth rejoiced at such a great number being saved.
“O Great God, Creator of heaven and earth!” cried out our godfather and enlightener, “Look down upon this new people, and grant them, Lord, to know Thee, the true God, as the Christian countries have known Thee; and confirm them in the true and uncorrupted faith; and aid me, Lord, against the hostile enemy, so that, trusting in Thee and in Thy power, I may defeat his intrigues.”
Here everything is stated and there is an explanation of why, faith in Christ and the true Church are given to us. Faith in Christ and the true Church as the repository and disseminator of that faith are given to us so that we might know the true God and, knowing Him, learn to believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him.
Faith in God must be “true” and “uncorrupted,” that is, not just any sort of faith thought up by people themselves according to their own taste, but correct, or orthodox, as that true Christian faith, pure and uncorrupted, undistorted by human sophistry, preached by the holy Apostles and preserved without change by the true Church, has always been called. The criterion for this faith is this: “That is true which has been believed everywhere,. at all times, by all people” (St.’ Vincent of Lerins). And that faith must be “uncorrupted” in us, that is, we must preserve it so steadfastly, firmly, uncompromisingly that no one will be able to seduce us or draw us away from it.
And, finally, in St. Vladimir’s prayer there is an indication of the personal aim of this faith for each of us and, consequently, of the great significance of belonging to the true Church which preserves this faith. We have a “hostile enemy who arranges “intrigues” against us and wants to destroy us. This is the enemy of God and the enemy of human salvation, the devil, with whom we must carry on an unceasing struggle, since otherwise eternal destruction awaits us. It is only through “hoping in God and in His power,” that is, with the assistance of the true faith and Church, that we can carry on this struggle with the enemy of human salvation, the devil, with whom we must carry on an unceasing struggle, since otherwise eternal destruction awaits us. It is only through “hoping in God and in His power,” that is, with the assistance of the true faith and Church, that we can carry on this struggle with the enemy of human salvation, the devil, until we are completely victorious.
It is from this viewpoint that one must consider everything which is happening in the world at the present time.