Some people by the word freedom understand the ability to do whatever one wants … People who have the more allowed themselves to come into slavery to sins, passions, and defilements more often than others appear as zealots of external freedom, wanting to broaden the laws as much as possible. But such a man uses external freedom only to more severely burden himself with inner slavery. True freedom is the active ability of a man who is not enslaved to sin, who is not pricked by a condemning conscience, to choose the better in the light of God’s truth, and to bring it into actuality with the help of the gracious power of God. This is the freedom of which neither heaven nor earth are restricted.
(St.Philaret of Moscow,Metropolitan of Moscow , Sermon on the Birthday of Emperor Nicholas I, 1851)
Prayer of Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow:
My Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee.
Thou and Thou alone knowest my needs.
Thou lovest me more than I am able to love Thee.
O Father, grant unto me, Thy servant, all which I cannot ask.
For a cross I dare not ask, nor for consolation;
I dare only to stand in Thy presence.
My heart is open to Thee.
Thou seest my needs of which I myself am unaware.
Behold and lift me up!
In Thy presence I stand,
awed and silenced by Thy will and Thy judgments,
into which my mind cannot penetrate.
To Thee I offer myself as a sacrifice.
No other desire is mine but to fulfill Thy will.
Teach me how to pray.
Do Thyself pray within me.
Philaret (Drozdov) of Moscow
- From 1791, Vassily Drozdov studied in the Kolomna Seminary, where courses were taught in Latin.
- From March 1800, he studied in the Moscow Holy Trinity Theological Seminary, where he completed his degree on December 21, 1803. Upon graduation, he was assigned to his alma mater as a professor of Greek and Hebrew.
- On November 16, 1808, V.M. Drozdov was tonsured a monk with the name Philaret after St. Philaret the Merciful (December 1). In November 1808, Monk Philaret was ordained ahierodeacon, and on March 1, 1809, he was assigned as Dean of Students of the St. Petersburg Theological Seminary and professor of Philosophy at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.
- On March 28, 1809, Philaret was ordained a hieromonk and in August 1809 was appointed Dean of the St. Alexander Nevsky Theological School.
- On February 8, 1810, he received a bachelor’s degree from the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.
- On July 8, 1811, Hieromonk Philaret was elevated to the rank of archimandrite, and onMarch 11, 1812, he was appointed rector at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.
- On March 27, 1812, he was made abbot of the Monastery of St. George in the NovgorodDiocese while also retaining his position as rector and professor of the Academy.
- On August 13, 1814, Archimandrite Philaret was awarded a Doctorate in Theology for his collection of works. On August 30, 1814, Archimandrite Philaret was appointed as a member of the Commission on Theological Schools and in 1816, a member of the Russian Bible Society. In March 1816, he was made abbot of Novospassky Monastery in Moscow, again while retaining his position as rector and professor of the Academy.
- On June 2, 1816, he became a member of the Committee on Legal Matters concerning Orthodox Clergymen; June 16, 1816, a member of the Council for a Merciful Society; March 3, 1817, a member of the Building Committee at St. Petersburg Theological Academy; and onApril 7, 1817, a member of the Central Directorate of Schools.
- On August 5, 1817, Archimandrite Philaret was elevated to the rank of Bishop of Revel,Vicar to the St. Petersburg Diocese.
- On September 21, 1818, he was chosen a full member of the Russian Academy.
- On March 15, 1819, he was appointed Archbishop of Tver and member of the Most Holy Synod.
- On September 26, 1820, he was appointed Archbishop of Yaroslavl and Rostov and on July 3, 1821, appointed Archbishop of Moscow.
- On August 22, 1826, the Most Reverend Philaret became the Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna, where he remained until his death.
As metropolitan, Philaret believed that it was his duty to educate and enlighten his flock about the Church’s teachings and traditions. Therefore, he preached and wrote about how to live a Christian life, basing his words on the wisdom of the Holy Fathers. His 1823 catechismhas been an influential book in Russia and in other countries for nearly two hundred years.
The reforms of Tsar Peter the Great had abolished the patriarchate and severely restricted the Church, placing many aspects of its life under governmental control. Metropolitan Philaret tried to regain some of the Church’s freedom to administer its own affairs, regarding Church and State as two separate entities working in harmony. Not everyone shared his views, and he certainly made his share of enemies. Still, he did achieve some degree of success in effecting changes.
The holy hierarch made a direct, creative, and decisive organizational contribution to the accomplishment of the Synodal translation of the Bible into Russian from Slavonic.
- Having acquired the grace of the Holy Spirit
- O divinely wise and holy hierarch Philaret,
- You preached truth and righteousness to the people with enlightened understanding;
- With a contrite heart you showed peace and mercy to the suffering;
- And as a teacher and tireless guardian of the Faith
- With the staff of uprightness you preserved the Russian flock.
- Therefore, as you have boldness before Christ our God,
- Pray that He preserve the Church and salvation to the people and our souls.
Kontakion (Tone 2)
- As a true imitator of the venerable Sergius;
- You loved virtue from childhood, O divinely blessed Philaret.
- As a righteous pastor and blameless confessor you were subject to mockery and abuse by :the ungodly after your holy repose,
- But God has glorified you signs and miracles
- And shown you to be the helper of our Church.
Saint Philaret was a prominent figure in preparing a Russian translation of the Bible, and wrote many volumes of theological and historical works collectively known as the Filaretica. They include:
- Colloquy between a Believer and a Skeptic on the True Doctrine of the Greco-Russian Church (St. Petersburg, 1815)
- Compend of Sacred History (1816)
- Commentary on Genesis (1816)
- Attempt to Explain Psalm lxvii. (1818)
- Sermons delivered at Various Times (1820)
- Extracts from the Four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles for Use in Lay Schools (1820)
- Christian Catechism (1823)
- Extracts from the Historical Books of the Old Testament (1828–30)
- Principles of Religious Instruction (1828)
- New Collection of Sermons (1830–36).
Philaret also wrote spiritual poems from an early age. His poetical correspondence with Alexander Pushkin is well known.