We were saved by will of the Lord, who extended His mercy to all the nations, and thus He neglected us not, as He brought us unto the knowledge of the Truth. When our land was parched and desolate, when the swelter of idolatry had desiccated it, then of a sudden the stream of the Gospels flowed and slaked the thirst of all our land… We were blind: not knowing the true light, we strayed in the false light of idolatry. And we were deaf: deaf to the teaching of salvation. Yet God had mercy upon us… We were lame: we stumbled in snares of perdition, pursuing the demons, not knowing the pathway to life. And we stuttered: our tongues stammered prayers to the idols and not to our God and Creator. Yet God’s love for mankind came upon us… We were as the beast and as the cattle, not knowing our right hand or our left hand, caring only for the things witch are on earth, not caring at all for the things witch are in heaven. But then God sent His commandments to us, witch lead to the life eternal. As Hosea foretold: “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will make for them a covenant with the birds of the sky and with the beasts of the earth, and I will say to that witch was not my people, ‘Thou art my people’, and they shall say to me, ‘Thou art the lord our God.’” And thus: we, who had been strangers, were called God’s people; we, who had been His enemies, were called His sons.
Sermon on Law and Grace
Precious archaeological finds, connected with the earliest period of Russian history, have been unearthed in burial mounds and other places. Here we can see not only the objects created under the influence of ancient pagan beliefs, but also pertaining to the emerging Christian tradition. These include skillfully made works of decorative and applied art, Byzantine and Western European coins and jewelry, which allow us to imagine the scale of trade connections between Russia and other countries.
The appearance and growing influence of Christianity in the 10th-13th centuries are reflected in the Medieval works of Russian religious art: manuscripts and icons. Some of the principal personages and events of the Pre-Mongolian era are also depicted in latter icons (including a replica of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Vladimir, painted by Andrei Rubliov circa 1400) and illuminated manuscripts.