Commemoration of Holy Right-Believing Prince Alexander Nevsky
It happens that we have to meet people who bring us nothing except troubles and sorrows. Of course, we are beleaguered by fear and sadness, haunted by despondency and anguish. What do we make out of it? What can we do?
When Russia was under the Mongol yoke, Batu Khan sent his envoys to Holy Right-Believing Prince Alexander Nevsky who was in Suzdal at that time. The envoys announced the following on behalf of the Khan, “I have conquered many kingdoms and peoples. How dare you not recognize my power, like all other Russian princes?” Alexander realized that it meant an invitation to the capital of the Golden Horde. He was sad and didn’t know what to do. He shared his doubts and sorrows with Bishop Kirill and asked him for advice. The holy hierarch listened to Alexander and told him, “You have to go to the Horde but first of all, you must fast, remember God at all times and, if necessary, be adamant in your decision to suffer for His sake.” Alexander promised to follow the bishop’s instructions, took communion of the Holy Mysteries, and then went to Batu Khan. When he arrived in the Horde, he was first of all requested to worship idols. Alexander declined and was ready to die as a result of that. He was amazed, though, when, in spite of his refusal to worship idols, the Khan met him amicably, praised him, and bestowed great honors on the prince! It turned out that where he had expected death, he encountered happiness instead. Where he had thought he would find trouble, he found joy instead.
In view of this, brethren, if you sometimes have to go to a place where you expect to have sorrows and misfortunes, do what Alexander did before going there: fast, promise God to remain honest and incorruptible, and entrust your fate to God’s hands. Hopefully, the anticipated sorrow will transform into joy, and grief will turn into happiness. This hope isn’t futile: here is what the Lord says about people who face sorrows and trust God nevertheless, Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. (Ps. 91:14-15). Amen.
By Archpriest Viktor Gurev
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds