EKATERINBURG, RUSSIA: October 30, 2018
Metropolitan Kirill and Archbishop Michael perform a pannikhida for the heroes of the White Movement
On October 27, 2018, a memorial service was performed in Ekaterinburg, Russia, for the heroes of the White Movement in honor of the Russian exodus of 1920 led by General Wrangel. His Eminence Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursk and His Eminence Archbishop Michael, officiated.
After Divine Liturgy, which was celebrated at the Chapel of the Royal Passion-Bearers, and before the pannikhida, Metropolita Kirill asked everyone to remember the warriors of the White Army, which was forced to flee Soviet Russia in 1920, which included 150,000 people, who set out to set up a “second homeland,” a center for the White Emigration, at a camp in Gallipoli, Turkey.
“This service is in memory of these people, of General Wrangel and the thousands and thousands of common and not-so-common Russian folk who suddenly found themselves abroad, but loved their Homeland no less than you and I do today, and tried to protect the values of their national Russian life,” said Vladyka Kirill.
“They are all in our hearts… these are our people, our grandparents, great-grandparents. Brother fought against brother, father against son. This was a civil war, the most horrifying thing we could endure. In order for us to strive to preserve peace, however brittle, yet still peace, we pray together today for the repose of their eternal souls and invoke Divine aid so that in our nation, our people, such tragedies, such catastrophes, never happen again,” said the archpastor.
The choir of the Monastery of the Royal Passion-Bearers in Ganina Yama sang.
“All the martyrdom that the Russian people endured when they were driven from their land, and endures even to this day, this martyrdom is connected to the fact that they discarded, abandoned and betrayed their Emperor, to whom they had made an oath, to whom they vowed fealty and whom they left to the clutches of this wicked men, to face the terrible death which occurred here, only steps from where we performed this pannikhida.”
Metropolitan Kirill stressed that our faults and personal opinions can never hinder us to love our Homeland and remain a united people.
“We thank those who preserve this memory, who performs this memorial service every year for the warriors who did not dissolve when all seemed lost. They maintained the warrior spirit, they preserved their lives and all that they could. They bewildered friend and foe alike for refusing to fall into despair. This must give us pause, how we become despondent and ‘fall apart’ in our nation. They provide an astounding example for us. May God grant them the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal rest. We believe and we hope that the Lord has received their souls, because they had endured much, and these sufferings gave them the opportunity, opened the door to the Kingdom of Heaven,” concluded the hierarch.
Archbishop Michael expressed his gratitude to Metropolitan Kirill for the possibility of serving jointly at the site of the podvig of the Royal Passion-Bearers, to commemorate “those who died defending this Russia, the Russia they did not want to leave.”
“I was born in a Russian community abroad. We had all of the classes amongst us: nobility, the merchant class, Cossacks. There were people from all regions, and we all called ourselves Russian: whether from Ukraine, Belarus, the Far East, the South, the West… This was the Russia we preserved,” he noted. “This was the power of Russia itself. They never forgot their Homeland and prayed that this power would return.”
In 1920-21, the peninsula called Gallipoli in the European part of Turkey served as a large camp for a General Wrangel’s Russian Army, which evacuated from Crimea. The Russian military encampment turned into the military center of the White Emigration. On November 22, 1921, the Society of Gallipoli was established, one of the most active military organizations of the Russian White Emigration. Today, the Society of the Descendants of the Russians of Gallipoli, the successor organization, bears a purely commemorative, not military, character and collaborates with the Russian government with the support of the Russian Orthodox Church.