Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

British saints

In the Name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Ghost. 

Three weeks, one after the other, we have been keeping the memory of Saints: All Saints, immediately after Pentecost, All Saints of Russia, and now, All the Saints of these Isles. Who is a saint? A saint is one who has been loyal to his Lord; a saint is one who having discovered how much God loves us has responded with all his heart and with great courage to the call of God: “Be My friend!” And to be the friend of God is like being the friend of anyone on earth; it means an earnest, faithful, solid loyalty to Him; to stand by Him whether things are easy or whether they are hard; and the Saints of God have proved  that they could do it: they accepted God’s friendship and remained friends even when death was upon them, even when torture was upon/offered them. And today we keep the Saints of this land, and this is a very moving experience both for those who are of these Islands – Britain and Ireland – and for us, strangers who came here. For you – you are singing the praises of  those who before all separations in Christendom belonged to the same faith which we profess today: the Orthodox Saints of this land of the time when the whole land was Orthodox and at one  with universal Orthodoxy. But for us it is a wonder, it is an incredible joy to keep the memory of these Saints; we came here as exiles, we came here as strangers, we came to a country which was so different, so strange to us and of a sudden we discovered that we came to a country which had an orthodox past and we were received here as guests, as tramps, as travelers, as pilgrims, as homeless and destitute people by thousands and thousands of saints  who said to us: Come! You are at home! You belong to that home which we have built in ancient days – the Church, the Orthodox Church. So, today we all can rejoice, you together with the Saints of these lands are our hosts; we, pilgrims, tramps, voyagers, homeless have been received by your ancestors and by you. You are at home  – we are strangers today. And this is that hospitality that makes us one; and this is a wonder and a joy of this day for all of us. Amen.