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Sprouts of New Life

On 31 December, the faculty and staff, students and friends of St. Philaret’s Institute offered up a thanksgiving prayer for the year 2014. Following that, Fr. Georgy Kochetkov, Rector of SFI, shared his thoughts on the outcomes of the year.
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“The Lord is transforming the very soil of our life, making absolutely barren rocky desert fertile,” observed Fr. Georgy. “This year, we have witnessed not only individuals but whole communities as well as smaller and larger groups across the country and the Church strata stepping forward in support of church life revival.”

Fr. Georgy also noted the ‘People Acting in Freedom’ conference held in October. The event brought together people who were choosing to volunteer time and effort to good causes such as fire fighting, teaching, culture conservation and fighting the mafia. “The conference left me with a powerful impression. It proved that something new has been emerging not only in the church but also in society.”

The SFI Rector reflected on Nikolay Neplyuev’s idea of a pan-Russian brotherhood, articulated in 1907. “At that point in history, people were unable to embrace the idea; they did not see it as the will of God. Ten years later, they were faced with a disaster that had no precedent in the history of mankind,” said Fr. Georgy. “Today, no organised effort can re-create the previously existing context in our country or any other countries of the former Russian Empire. However, God does want people to live in love as brothers and to be truly united in openness towards and trust in Him and each other.” He also recalled that the 5th Annual Conference on Catechesis, held by St. Philaret’s Institute in May, provided a forum for discussing the idea of an informal brotherhood uniting people involved in catechesis.

“Today, once again people thirst for knowledge of God and reflect on the meaning and goals of their lives,” said Fr. Georgy. “Everyone has their own way of thinking and, thank God, it is free thinking. Long may this last. May God help everyone to never be discouraged, not to give up or lose energy and the ability to think clearly. Let everyone stay vigilant and aware of their own measure, gifts and talents, joyfully and open-heartedly looking into the eyes of others and testifying to God’s work today!”

Among the events of the past year Fr. Georgy also noted the recital of names of innocent Soviet regime victims, held across 17 cities on 30 October with the support of the Synodic Department for Church-Society Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. He further referred to numerous pan-church and international conferences and meetings attended by representatives of St. Philaret’s Institute and the Transfiguration Brotherhood.

Translated by Alina Patrakova, Ekaterina Zvyagintseva

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