Russian Patriarch at Main Military Cathedral: “A special moment has come, on which the historical destiny of our people may depend”
On April 3, 2022, Patriarch Kirill led the Sunday liturgy and delivered a sermon in Kubinka (Moscow region) in the Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces built from destroyed German material from World War II. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church urged the Russian military to keep their oaths and defend their homeland at all costs. The patriarch proclaimed that nothing less than the historical destiny of the Russian people was currently at stake.
Coincidentally or not, Kirill’s speech came a day after Pope Francis speaking during a visit to Malta condemned the war in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin without mentioning the Russian leader by name. Pope Francis said:
“From Eastern Europe, the Land of Sunrise, the dark shadows of war have now spread. We thought invasions from other countries, savage street fights and atomic threats were dark memories of a distant past.
“However, the icy winds of war, which bring only death, destruction and hatred in their wake, have powerfully swept away the lives of many and affected us all.
“Once again a potentate, sadly caught up in anachronistic claims of nationalist interests, is provoking and fomenting conflict, while ordinary people feel the need to build a future that will either be shared or none at all.” 
While the words of the Catholic pontiff may carry great weight in the West, they may also help Russian leaders convince the population that this is another episode in the historic struggle between the Catholic West and Orthodox Russia. .
Below are excerpts from Patriarch Kirill’s Kubinka sermon:
Patriarch Kirill leads the service at the Main Cathedral of the Russian Army (Source: Odintsvo.info)
“I am very happy to have had the opportunity to celebrate the Divine Liturgy today in this beautiful church, in the presence of our soldiers. Today, our Fatherland is going through a difficult period. Even today, the The designation ‘military’ is associated not only with a stay in a state of peace, but also with a presence on the battlefield Fortunately, our Fatherland is not often confronted with the battlefield, but with the arrival in the Forces armies of young people who aspire to become officers, who strive to devote their lives to defending the fatherland, do not evaporate. And if in times of peace this can be explained by some kind of privileges or material considerations, then in times of war, service in the armed forces is a real feat, and this is exactly the moment we are in now Service requires the availability of all who have taken an oath to defend the Fatherland, without regrets for [losing] their lives; and therefore, today, our special prayer is for the Armed Forces, for our soldiers, with whom is associated the hope of security, of freedom, of a true independence of our country.
“Today the word ‘independence’ is often applied to almost every country in the world. But this is wrong, because most countries in the world are now under the colossal influence of a force, which today , unfortunately, opposes the strength of our people. And since that is the case, since there is a great power there, then we must also be very strong. When I say “we”, I mean say, above all, the armed forces – but not only. All our people today must wake up, be attentive, understand that a particular moment has come, on which the historical destiny of our people may depend.
“That is why I celebrated the Divine Liturgy today here, in this church, in order to first meet the representatives of our Armed Forces, to address them, and through them to our entire army, to the navy, to all the defenders of the fatherland, so that they realize the historical importance of the present moment. I mean again and again: we are a peace-loving country and a very peace-loving people, who have suffered from wars like few other European Nations. We have no desire to go to war or do anything that might harm others. But that is how we have been educated by all our history to love our homeland and to be prepared to defend it in a way that only Russians can defend their country.
“When I say these words, I am not giving empty compliments. I am digressing from the history of our people, from the history of our armed forces. After all, we have broken the back of fascism, which, without no doubt, would have conquered the world, but for Russia, but for the heroic action of our people. May the Lord help us still today, so that we, as a peaceful, peace-loving and humble people, may be at the same ready times – always and in all circumstances – to protect our home.
“Of course, when I say all this, I keep feeling anxious for all the people who live in these places where military clashes are taking place today. After all, these are all the peoples and nations of Holy Russia, all these are our brothers and sisters. But, as in the Middle Ages, in a desire to weaken Russia, various forces caused the brothers to clash, plunging them into internal struggles, this is what is happening today too. Therefore, everything we can must be done to stop the bloodshed and avoid the risk of turf wars with all its consequences. But at the same time, we must be faithful – when I say “we”, I mean above all the military – to our oath and our readiness to “lay down our lives for our friends”, as evidenced by the word of God…
“To all of you, my dear – Bishops, fathers, brothers, sisters, soldiers, military leaders, our young people – I greet you and warmly congratulate you once again on this Sunday and wish us all to maintain [our] courage, the ability to pray for the Fatherland, and for ourselves, the ability to always keep inner strength, which can translate into different life situations, including the doubled power of our Armed Forces. May the Lord keep our land, our homeland for many good years! Amen.”
 Ng.ru, April 3, 2022.
 Guardian.co.uk, 2 April 2022.
 Patriarchia.ru, April 3, 2022.