In his play of 1850, Virtue is More Important than Riches, the national awakener of Carpatho-Russia, Fr Alexander Dukhnovich, told his people to face the contemporary world. However alien it may be to us, we are to go out into it, taking advantage of its opportunities, all the while keeping our integrity by remaining faithful to our own traditions. We will be able to return to our Orthodox homes with the benefits of outward Western material civilization, but only if we use our spiritual and moral values to withstand its inward corruption.

Our adherence to our traditional Orthodox Christian roots and to our identity amid the modern world, will ensure not only our survival, but also our victory over the world. The following verse from his play, which I have freely translated into English verse, sums up his thoughts. They remain relevant to us Orthodox, who live as exiles in today’s even more alien, new West. Here we must not despair, for God is with us, as long as we protect ourselves through our faithfulness to the Orthodox roots of the Old Europe.

Fr Andrew

Time to make ready, my child,
And fly to the world outside,
Like the little birds winging
To the earth that is singing.

Everywhere shines the one sun,
All life by Providence done,
Everywhere all is God’s will
And the one destiny still.

Wherever we have to go,
By hill high or forest low,
God is with us together
And goes with us forever.

Wherever we have to turn,
We’ll live with honour and learn,
That in serving Christ the Lord,
The fear of God is our sword.

And all you, my brother folk,
Forget not the words we spoke.
Long life and good health to you
And may God comfort you too.

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