By Xavier Lerma
During his Middle East tour President Putin took time in his busy schedule to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. He met Father Superior Isidore and the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theofilos III who were both very happy to see him again. This is not the first time he has been there. As Putin himself admits this is one of his favorite places to visit.
Vladimir Putin was baptized at the Transfiguration Cathedral in St Petersburg a month and a half after he was born. Although his Father was a Communist, his Mother whose name was Maria, managed to take him there to make sure he would be brought up in the Christian faith. Putin remembers,
"She told me that when she and a neighbor brought me here to be baptized - they did it in secret from my father"
Putin was baptized on the day of the Archangel Michael who threw Lucifer out of Heaven. The priest suggested his name should be Michael but his Mother said they already had chosen to name him after his Father, Vladimir. The priest pointed to an icon of St Vladimir in the church and said that would be his icon. St Vladimir the Great was the first powerful ruler to Christianize Russia. The name Vladimir means to rule with greatness or to rule with peace.
It was the president's Mother who gave him a cross to be blessed on one of his first visits to Israel. Putin did as she asked and had it blessed where Christ was buried. He says he always keeps it with him. On this visit, he went to Calvary again, and went to the cave where the cross of the crucifixion was found. In the Church of the Holy Sepulcher he knelt at the Stone of Anointing and then descended into the chapel, built where Jesus was buried and where the Holy Fire descends every year at Easter.
Fortunately for Russia, they now have a Christian leader and not atheists like Stalin or Lenin who relied on their own power and wreaked havoc and destruction throughout Russia. Hint, hint, it's always good to know what your leader believes in before you allow him to take control of you and your country. They could lie but action speaks louder than words. It's always boggled my mind how people could vote for Obama based on his race or what he said rather than what he did.
A Russian priest recently told me, "It doesn't matter what you tell a person if that person is not seeking the kingdom of Heaven. Their mind is closed in darkness. That individual will not listen to the truth." Well, that explains everything! "...and the darkness did not comprehend it." Christ told us not to worry about anything because he will take care of us. He told us to:
"Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God"
President Putin could have hung out with babes like Clinton or went to the beach like Obama. Instead he decided after a long hard day to go to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at night. He could've made excuses that he'd been there before and went to bed but he didn't. It's not what a person says but what he does that tells it all. In his actions Putin showed us what was most important to him.
"So what!", shouted the cynical communists, who like the adversary Satan himself accuses every person. They arrogantly name each fault of yours, mine and Putin's. "You're no better than me! You're nobody!", they say. I say, shut up! No one cares what you think anyway! If you want to curse the darkness instead of lighting a candle, that's your problem. Go annoy someone else, you're bad news. We love God and no one's perfect but Him, so get over it and crawl back in your hole.
Putin is not a man who relies on himself but acknowledges that there is a God who rose from the dead. His actions speak louder than words. He knelt and prayed. How else could he have brought Russia out of poverty and misery when Americans and oligarchs were gutting Russia like a fish in the 90's? He was an answer to a nation's prayer. It's not about him and he knows it. It's about God and serving Him.
Russia is a nation who saw Christians martyred for their faith. Before their very eyes they saw the Cathedral of Christ the Savior destroyed by the minority called Communists. As Christ rose from the dead so did their faith. The Cathedral was rebuilt by private donations. Putin himself helped the church.
A total of 23,000 Orthodox churches have been rebuilt in Russia in the past 20 years. The Orthodox Church has with the help of the government regained ownership of churches and cathedrals previously owned by the Soviet Union. The previous Patriarch of Moscow Alexy II, showed how grateful he was at one of the Easter services. I saw myself how churches were rebuilt in Russia over the past 12 years.
Yesterday the Patriarch of Jerusalem told President Putin, "Христос воскрес!", which means, Christ is Risen! The Russian president answered back, Воистину воскрес", which means:
Truly He has risen
Contact Xavier Lerma at [email protected]
His popular articles can be seen at http://xlerma.wordpress.com/
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