Hold fast the Orthodox Faith,
O Holy Rus

Throughout the ages, our people were the builders of Holy Rus' and the guardians of the purity of Orthodoxy. As a result of its fidelity to the historic Faith of Christ, the Russian Nation became said Faith's protector from the multifarious heresies and false teachings which advanced against the Russian Land from out of the Latin West and the Muslim East, -- beginning in the XIII-th century and lasting to our day.

Especially difficult trials and travails beset the Russian Nation and Orthodoxy in the XX-th century. Throughout the course of the entire century there occurred persecutions on so great a scale as had never before been seen in the history of humanity; and warfare was also waged by the forces of world-evil against Orthodoxy and the Church, with an aim toward establishing their New World Order, with antichrist -- "the prince of this world," at its head. The overthrow of the Tsar's authority in February 1917 and the destruction, thereby, of the Orthodox form of government, laid the groundwork for an entire epoch of militant atheism, which, to this day, wages both open and concealed warfare against the Church and the Faith, alike, its objective being to uproot and annihilate them entirely.

Despite massive repression and persecution most-cruel in the 1920's - '30's, "the gates of hell" have not prevailed against the Church of Christ. It was exactly during this bloody period of time that there shone forth, in the Russian Land, hundreds of thousands of saintly martyrs and confessors of Orthodox truth and righteousness. Neither physical annihilation nor furiously frenzied spiritual warfare were able to dislodge the spirit of Orthodoxy from the life of nation.

Then, the agitators of obscurantism embarked upon a new campaign against belief in God: between the closing years of the 1950's and the opening years of the 1960's, they enticed many thousands of souls, unshielded by the citadel of life-bearing Orthodoxy, into the snares of "scientific atheism." In vain, however, did these servants of the evil one attempt to create a new, scientifically-materialistic world-view in all the Russian People, without exception, who, by that time, had begun to be called *"homo sovieticus."*

Despite their unrestrained striving to impose and gorge the monstrous idols of social progress, science, and materialism [upon the Russian people], this repeated attempt on their part was also not crowned with success. Today, a new stage has begun in their war against Holy Orthodoxy. We have become witnesses to a wide-scale religious expansion on the part of Catholicism, occultism, Protestant heresies and sectarianism, the aim of all of which is the gradual spiritual colonization of the Russian Nation.

But, despite the plight of the Church on earth being so painful and burdensome; despite the disordered economic situation, which has brought the condition of the country almost to one of colonial status -- that of being the raw-material appendage of the developed western nations, which have "the golden calf" as their ideal -- let us remember that it was only in and through Orthodoxy and the church-spirit [*tserkovnost'*] that the Russian Nation acquired its historic calling of serving Divine truth and righteousness on earth; and that the genuine spiritual, national and state renascence of the country is unthinkable without Orthodoxy and outside the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Holy and righteous Father Ioann of Kronstadt said: "...upon the bones of the martyrs, as upon a firm foundation, will a new Rus' be erected -- in conformity with the old model -- one strong in her faith in Christ-God and in the Holy Trinity! And the Church, in accordance with the testament of Holy prince Vladimir, will be as one! The Russian people have ceased to discern what Rus' is; she is the footstool of the Lord's Throne! The Russian must ever realize this and thank God for the very fact that he is a Russian."

Wherefore, during dire days and calamitous [*likholyetiye*], when we find ourselves at a crossroads of the spirit, let us turn our spiritual gaze to that legacy which has been passed on to all generations of Russians by the Fathers of the Church: "Hold fast the Orthodox Faith, O Holy Rus', for therein are thy sanction and support to be found!"

Translated into English by G. Spruksts from the Russian text of the essay entitled _"Rus' Sviataya, khrani veru pravoslavnuyu"_, which originally appeared in the Russian newspaper _"Bratiya Slavianye"_. English-language text copyright (c) 2000 by The St. Stefan Of Perm' Guild, The Russian Cultural Heritage Society, and the Translator. All rights reserved.

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