Today is Armistice (Remembrance) Day in the United Kingdom, Veterans Day in the US, the anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in the First World War.
WE should defend one another, for we are brothers – especially we who are of one Faith.
There is an example of this in history. Once, when an official delegation of Constantinopolitan dignitaries was sent to the Saracens to negotiate peace, the Saracens argued that Christians disobeyed God’s commandment.
They said: “Why do you Christians disobey Christ’s commandment to love your enemies, but instead persecute and kill us?”
Now, a certain Cyril was part of this delegation. His answer to the Saracens was: “If, in a certain law, there are two commandments that must be fulfilled, which man shall be more righteous, he who fulfills both commandments or he who fulfills only one of them?”
The Saracens answered, “He that fulfills both, of course.”
Then Cyril said, “As individuals we forgive our enemies, but as a community we lay down our lives for one another. For the Lord has said that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s neighbor.
“As a community we protect one another and lay down our lives for one another. Not only is your aim to enslave us physically, you also aspire to enslave us spiritually. It is for this reason that we defend ourselves. This, therefore, is justified.”
Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, in “Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives”, pp. 91-92. Available from Skete.
FOR the repose, tranquility and blessed memory of the ever-memorable servants of God, the Orthodox warriors who have courageously struggled, and for all that have laid down their lives in battle for the Faith, our freedom, and our land, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.