Beloved in Christ brothers and sisters, today we give due veneration to a saint of the Church, and a son of our nation – to the Right-Faithful Voyevod Stephan the Great and Saint, whose exploits and acts of love for the holy matters and for the nation have come to us unaltered out of the elapsed centuries.
Stephan ascended to the throne ofMoldovaand led the country in hard and uncanny times, when enemies would hit the boundaries of the country, both from East and West. Left without any external support, the great prince took up the mission, better to say, followed the call to guard Christianity alone. But was he really alone? When he had Jesus Christ in his heart and the reliable peasant on his side, who was always ready to give the plough for a sword and line up to defend the ancestral land.
After almost half a century, Stephan the Great gave lessons of faith and audacity to Europe andAsia, having the Cross elevated towards the sky and holding the bared sword in his left hand. Being a wise leader of the country and a brilliant commander of the arms, he never attributed to himself a single victory, although all of them were resounding, victories held over much superior enemies. Humble and grateful, after every victory, Stephan builds a church or a monastery, leaving to the posterity a great and unique cultural and spiritual heritage.
The chronicler writes that after each battle, the Voyevod knelt and thanked God, saying, “It was not me, who won the victory, oh Lord, but Thou”
For his earthly life, lived in the fear of God, Stephan the Great was canonized by the Orthodox Church, and numbered among the Saints who shone on thelandofMoldova.
Today, every right-faithful Christian can kneel before the icon of Saint Stephan the Great, asking for his holy intercession before the Throne of the Lord, and praying for the peace in the country, conciliation between brothers, and protection from enemies.
Our nation had many voyevods who were worthy of the people they led, who were outstanding for the virtue of their wisdom and audacity, but only a handful of them managed to come through centuries into the sacred dimension, marking our biography as a people, with repentance, with prayer, and with hope.
Today, in this lightning-century, when people limit the history only to the present second, we need more then ever to look back to our worthy predecessors, and look up to the sky, to venerate our saints.
Let us bend our heads in full conciliation and peace, and ponder at the words “Fearless protector of the faith and of ancestral motherland, great ctitor of holy shrines, Stephan Voyevod, pray to Christ God that He saves us from trouble and sorrow. Amen”.
With arch-pastoral blessings,
+ Vladimir, Metropolitan of Chişinăului and All Moldova “