Friday, April 11, 2008

Sanctifying the Ends (or Top) of the Earth

Remember my post about the Bishop of the Blogosphere, Archbishop Ignaty of Petropavlosk and Kamchatsky? Well, now he's gone and celebrated the Divine Liturgy (and even a Baptism!) on the North Pole.

Vladyka Ignaty said the following in an interview:
The main commitment of a priest is his commitment to God. The main service of the Orthodox Church is the Divine Liturgy. It is conducted in the Far East, in the city of apostles Peter and Paul (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - IF), and in the faraway West, and at the southernmost location of our planet, Antarctica, which houses a recently erected church and a community of monks "fighting a good fight". But this saving divine sacrament has never before been conducted at the North Pole. How does the Book of Psalms praise the Apostles' acts? "Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world." The Divine Liturgy should also reach the northernmost spot of our planet. And the word of God should many a time sound at this northern location. And many a time should the Holy Communion announce to the world the great Commandments of Christ, the great feat of Christ which he committed through crucifix and great sufferings for the sake of each and everyone of us, His Holy Resurrection, and the road to Eternal Life open to every individual. This is worth any effort and labour. All the more so, a priest should be a priest everywhere. It is a priest's oath he gives in ordainment, rather than just pompous words.

We believe that the Holy Spirit shall descend upon this floating continent. God's Grace shall descend here, upon this place where brave and courageous Russian people we met during our expedition work and serve, and devotedly guard the borders of our Motherland.

A new large-scale stage of Russian Arctic exploration is under way now, after a long break caused by the perestroika and the hardships of the reconstruction period. But let us remember the words of Christ: "For without me ye can do nothing". It means, that it is impossible to commence any effort without a prayer to God, otherwise, it will bring no good results. Such results may be important for our mortal life, but they will be lost to our spiritual life. Therefore, to commence a new research of the "white silence", Russian scientists needed to raise their prayer, the most effective prayer of Russian Orthodoxy - the Divine Liturgy.
See the news item here; for more photos, see here.


Esteban Vázquez said...
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Esteban Vázquez said...

You know, Archbishop Ignaty wasn't the first Russian Orthodox Bishop with a blog! (Though I do think you're right that he is the first ruling bishop with one.) Bishop Elisey of Sourozh (formerly of Bogorodsk), had maintained an LJ for several years, even back when he was the Administrator of the MP's Russian Spiritual Mission in Jerusalem as an Archimandrite. Unfortunately, he hasn't written anything since last year; before that, however, he was quite prolific.

Felix Culpa said...

Oh yes, I'd forgotten all about that.

Bishop Seraphim (Sigrist) also has a LJ, which is why I made the point about a ruling bishop. But, as a reader in Greece noted in a comment, Metropolitan Ambrose of the Church of Greece has had one longer than Archbishop Ignaty.

Useless Dissident said...

Strange and unwholesome, this connecting of Russian desire for hegemony over the Arctic with the Christian injunction to preach to the ends of the Earth.

I think some healthy cynicism is in order.

Felix Culpa said...

The Russians hardly invented this; one would have to look with healthy cynicism at all of Christian history.

"Save O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou unto the righteous and God-fearing Tsar victory over enemies, and by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy Commonwealth."