06 December 2023
Today, we honour the memory of the Holy Righteous Prince Alexander of Novgorod, Kyiv, and Vladimir, who was given the name Nevsky — the last prince who even in the hardest circumstances tried to keep the unity of the state and save the Orthodox faith.
He was truly a great man, rich in many talents – the talents of a leader, military commander, diplomat, administrator, benefactor. But most importantly, he had unshakable true faith of Christ.
The prince was ardently loved and honoured by our ancestors throughout many centuries. It is not surprising that his image was always close to a lot of sovereigns, who saw in the prince the ideal of a ruler. And even the fact that some people in power now try to blacken his name and renounce him, blotting him out of history, attests that Saint Alexander Nevsky leaves no one indifferent even 760 years after the end of his earthly path.
A great-great-grandson of another holy righteous prince, Volodymyr Monomakh, and a son of the Kyivan Prince Yaroslav, Alexander lived in most hard times. He himself was the Great Prince of Kyiv for fourteen years and tried to save and unite Rus’ after a great tragedy of the Middle Ages.
Devastated, deprived of its former greatness, and having lost its best sons in battles, Ancient Rus’ lay in ruins after the fiery whirlwind of the invasion of the Horde. Only few lands survived, but were squeezed between the aggression of Crusader knights from the west and the greedy, ruthless rule of the khans from the east.
In order to avoid an irreparable catastrophe, the Lord raised from among His God-loving people a hero who managed, by courageously crushing some enemies and wisely containing the pressure of others, to give people an opportunity to get their breath back and recover.
In that hopeless situation, Prince Alexander understood very well that only a surviving people, not a people who had fallen in endless battles with incomparably stronger adversaries, could hope to revive. That only a people who had preserved in their land, in their families, in their hearts the main inner core and guarantee of freedom — the forefathers’ Orthodox faith, which united all — could get a chance for a new start.
Having gone through self-humiliation during his repeated visits to the Horde, giving himself up drop by drop for the lives of his countrymen, the righteous prince did not liberate his people from the cruel Tatar-Mongol yoke and the humiliating tribute when he was alive, but he was able to nurture and preserve that potential which helped his grandsons to gain freedom. Today’s politicians had better not struggle against the past, but learn wisdom from it and learn from it how to care about the people and the state interests. And the example of the Holy Righteous Prince Alexander is very illustrative in this respect.
If the demography and economy are destroyed in Ukraine, if the country is on a scorched earth and divided on the basis of language, religion, and culture, it will not be able to rise from its knees in our cruel and pragmatic age anymore. We need to stop this relentless conveyor belt of death as soon as possible.
If we do not come to our senses, others will live on our land. Through prayers of the Holy Righteous Prince Alexander, may it not be so!
I believe in the wisdom of our people and the infinite mercy of God.
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