Dearest Russian People

Author: Pope Pius XII

Dear Russian people, greetings and peace in the Lord. As the holy year was drawing near to a happy ending, when it was not possible for us, without the inspiration of the divinity, to solemnly declare and determine that the beloved Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, was assumed into heaven, soul and body, many in every part of the world have expressed their most ardent joy. among whom indeed there were not some who surrendered their congratulatory letters to Us, and at the same time earnestly requested of Us that we might consecrate the whole nation of the Russians, situated in the present circumstances, to the Immaculate Heart of the same Virgin Mary.

This request is very pleasing to us, who, if we pursue all people with a father's mind, we adarnamo in a special way those who, though for the most part separated from this Apostolic See by events and vicissitudes, still retain the Christian name; and they are engaged in such circumstances, in which it is very difficult not only to hear our voice and to recognize the precepts of Catholic truth, but also to be compelled to reject the notion and faith of God by tricky and destructive arts.

1. Constant remembrance in prayer

As soon as we have been raised to the Supreme Pontificate, we turn our attention to you, to a people who are almost boundless in the annals and achievements of history, and united in their love and zealousness with thrift and piety toward God, so greatly excels the Virgin Mary.

We have never ceased to bring our prayers to God, that he may always be present with you by his supernatural light and divine help; and may he grant to you each and all, together with the just and fair prosperity of things, to enjoy that freedom by which each may be able to defend his own dignity and to know the precepts of true religion, and to give worship to God not only in the depths of his conscience, but also openly in the practice of private and public life. .

You know, in other respects that our Predecessors, as often as there was opportunity, had nothing more ancient than to reveal to you their kindness and assistance; you know the apostles of the West Slavs, Cyril and Methodius, who, together with the Christian religion and their ancestors, introduced civil worship, and asked for this kindly city, so that the works of their own apostolate might be confirmed by the authority of the Roman Pontiffs. And our predecessor is the gall. rec. As they entered Rome, "accompanied by the clergy and people, he advances to meet them with great honor" (Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Grande Gift, A. L. vol. II, p. 129); and he not only creates bishops approved and commended, but consecrates them with the greatest majesty of the rites.

2. A millennium after the first meetings

In regard to your ancestors, however, the Roman Pontiffs, as often as they could, according to the terms of the circumstances, endeavored to establish or strengthen relations of friendship with them. Therefore, in the year 877, our pious Predecessor rec. Benedict VII sent embassadors to Prince Jaropolk, brother of the most distinguished Vladimir; to the very great Prince Vladimir, under whose auspices the Christian name and Christian culture of culture first shone on you, our predecessors, John XV in 881 and Sylvester II in 889, sent embassadors; which the same Vladimir recompensed kindly, also sending his embassadors to the same Roman Pontiffs. And it is worthy of note that at the time this Prince called these people to the religion of Jesus Christ, the Western and Eastern Christian nations were united with the Roman Pontiff, as being the supreme moderator of the whole Church.

Indeed, after a long period of time, that is. In the year 1075, your prince Isjaslav had secured his son Gregory VII to the Supreme Pontiff; who indeed imm. mem. Our predecessor to this Prince and his august spouse wrote: "Your son, visiting the threshold of the Apostles, has come to us and wished to obtain that kingdom through our hands by the gift of Saint Peter, having shown due fidelity to that blessed Prince of the Apostles Peter, he requested without a doubt his request by invoking your request. it would be ratified and settled by consent, if the grace and protection of apostolic authority were granted. At length we gave assent to his vows and petitions, because they seemed just, both from your consent and devotion to the one who demanded, and we handed over to him the government of your kingdom in the part of blessed Peter, with the intention and desire of charity; May he guard God by his intercession and with all peace and honor also cause you to hold the same kingdom until the end of your life..." (Register of Gregory VII, 1, 2, n. 74 1, p. 236).

Indeed, not a few years later, that is to say in 1075, your prince Isjaslav sent his own son Iaropolk to the supreme pontiff Gregory VII; and this Our predecessor of immortal memory wrote thus to this prince and his august consort: "Your son, while visiting the sacred thresholds of the apostles, came to Us, and because he wanted to obtain that kingdom by Our hand as a gift from St. Peter , having made a profession of fidelity to the prince of the apostles himself, he requested it with devout supplications, assuring without any doubt that his request would be ratified and confirmed by you, if he had the favor and protection of the apostolic authority. As these vows and requests seemed legitimate, both for your consent and for the petitioner's devotion, we finally accepted them, and handed over to him the government of your kingdom by St. Peter, with this intention and with this ardent desire, that blessed Peter with his intercession with God will guard you, your kingdom and all your things, and make you possess that same kingdom in all peace and also with honor and glory until the end of your life. ... ". (3)

It should also be noted and taken into consideration that Isidore, Metropolitan of Kiev, in the ecumenical council of Florence, signed the decree with which the union of the Eastern and Western Church was solemnly sanctioned under the authority of the Roman pontiff, and this for his entire ecclesiastical province, that is, for the entire kingdom of Russia; and to this sanction of unity he, as far as he was concerned, remained faithful to the end of his earthly life.

3. Admirable pages of generosity and love

And if in the meantime and later, due to an accumulation of adverse circumstances, on both sides the communications became more difficult, and consequently more difficult the union of minds - although up to 1448 there is no document public that declares your church separate from the apostolic see - this however in general is not to be attributed to the Slavic people, nor certainly to Our predecessors, who always surrounded these populations with a fatherly love, and when it was possible they took care to support them and to help them in every way.

We leave out not a few other historical documents from which the benevolence of Our predecessors towards your nation appears, but we cannot fail to mention briefly what the Supreme Pontiffs Benedict XV and Pius XI did when, after the first European conflict, especially in the southern regions of your homeland, huge multitudes of men, women, innocent children and girls were struck by a terrible famine and extreme poverty. In fact, driven by paternal affection for your compatriots, they sent these populations food, clothing and a lot of money raised by the entire Catholic family, to meet all those hungry and unhappy, and to be able to alleviate their calamities in some way. And Our predecessors provided, according to their possibilities, not only for material needs, but also for spiritual ones; in fact, do not pay to raise supplications to God, the father of mercies and source of all consolation (cf. 2 Cor 1: 3), they also wanted public prayers to be proclaimed for your religious condition so upset and disturbed by the negators and enemies of God, I decided to eradicate faith and the very notion of Divinity from souls. Thus the Supreme Pontiff Pius XI in 1930 established that on the feast day of St. Joseph, patron of the universal church, "common prayers should be raised to God. . . in the Vatican Basilica, due to the unfortunate conditions of religion in Russia "; (4) and he himself wanted to be present there, surrounded by a very large and pious multitude of people. Furthermore, in the solemn consistorial address he exhorted everyone with these words: «We must pray to Christ. . . redeemer of mankind, so that peace and the freedom to profess the faith may be restored to the unhappy children of Russia. . . and we want that according to this intention, that is for Russia, those prayers be recited which Our predecessor Leo XIII of happy memory imposed on priests to say together with the people after Holy Mass; the bishops and the regular and secular clergy should try with every care to inculcate the above to their faithful or to anyone who attends the Holy Mass, and often they recall this to their memory ". (5)

4. Impartiality of the Supreme Pontiff

We gladly confirm and renew this exhortation and this command, since the present religious situation among you is certainly no better, and because towards these populations we feel animated by the same very lively affection and the same concern.

When the last tremendous and long conflict broke out, We did everything in Our power, with word, with exhortations and with action, so that the disagreements were healed through an equitable and just peace, and so that the peoples all, regardless of lineage, united amicably and fraternally, and collaborated together to achieve greater prosperity.

Never, even at that time, did a word come out of Our mouth that might seem unjust or harsh to a part of the belligerents. Certainly we have tried again, as it should have been, any iniquity and any violation of law; but this we did in such a way as to avoid with all diligence all that could become, though unjustly, the cause of greater afflictions for the oppressed peoples. And when somewhere there was pressure that We somehow, verbally or in writing, approve the war waged against Russia in 1941, we never agreed to do so, as we openly expressed ourselves on February 25, 1946, in the speech given before the sacred college and to all diplomatic representations to the Holy See. (6)

5. For the freedom of souls and for justice

When it comes to defending the cause of religion, truth, justice and Christian civilization, we certainly cannot be silent; to this, however, Our thoughts and intentions are always directed, that is, that not with the violence of arms, but with the majesty of law all peoples are governed; and each of them, in possession of the due civil and religious freedom within the confines of their own country, is led towards harmony, peace and that hard-working life, so that individual citizens can procure the things necessary for food, housing, to the sustenance and governance of one's family. Our words and Our exhortations concerned and concern all nations, and therefore also you, who are always present in Our heart, and whose needs and calamities we wish to alleviate according to Our strength. Those who love not the lie but the truth know that throughout the course of the recent very hard conflict we have shown ourselves impartial towards all belligerents, and of this we have often proved with words and actions; and we have understood in Our most ardent charity all the nations, even those whose rulers professed to be enemies of this apostolic see, and also those in which the deniers of God fiercely oppose everything that smacks of Christian and divine, and try to erase it from citizens' minds. Indeed, by mandate of Jesus Christ, who entrusted the entire flock of the Christian people to Saint Peter, prince of the apostles (cf. Jn 21: 15-17) - whose unworthy successor we are - We love all peoples with intense love and we wish to provide earthly prosperity and eternal health for each one. Therefore, all of us, whether at war with each other with arms, or in contention for serious disagreements, are considered by us as so many dear children; and we want nothing else, we ask God for nothing else for them with prayer, if not their mutual harmony, just and true peace, and ever greater prosperity. Indeed, if some, because deceived by lies and slanders, profess open hostility towards Us, We are animated towards them by a greater commiseration and a more ardent affection.

6. Condemnation of error and charity for wanderers

Without doubt we have condemned and rejected - as the duty of Our office demands - the errors which the proponents of atheistic communism teach and strive to propagate to the greatest harm and ruin of the citizens; but the wanderers, far from rejecting them, want them to return to the truth and be led back to the right path. On the contrary, we have brought to light and reproved these lies, which often presented themselves under false appearances of truth, precisely because we nurture paternal affection for you and seek your good. In fact, we have the firm certainty that these errors can only cause enormous damage to you, since they not only take away from your souls that supernatural light and those supreme comforts that come from piety and worship towards God, but also strip you of human dignity. and the just freedom due to citizens.

7. The powerful garrison of the Mother of God

We know that many of you keep the Christian faith in the intimate sanctuary of your conscience, that in no way allow themselves to be induced to favor the enemies of religion, but rather ardently desire to profess Christian teachings, the only and sure foundations of civil life, not only privately, but if it were possible, as befits free people, even openly. And we also know, with our greatest hope and great comfort, that you love and honor the virgin Mary Mother of God with ardent affection, and that you venerate her sacred images. We know that in Clemlino himself a temple was built - today unfortunately removed from divine worship - dedicated to the most holy Mary assumed into heaven; and this is a very clear testimony of the love that your ancestors and you bring to the great Mother of God.

Well, We know that the hope of salvation cannot fail where souls turn with sincerity and ardent piety towards the most holy Mother of God. citizens the holy religion and Christian virtue, although Satan himself tries to promote this sacrilegious struggle by every means according to the sentence of the apostle of the nations: «. . . we do not have to fight against flesh and blood, but against princes and powers, against the rulers of this dark world, against evil spirits. . . "(Eph 6, 12); however, if Mary interposes her valid patronage, the gates of hell will not be able to prevail. In fact, she is the most benign and most powerful Mother of God and of all of us, and it has never been heard in the world that anyone has appealed to her, and has not experienced her very valid intercession. Continue, therefore, as you usually do, to venerate her with fervent piety, to love her ardently and to invoke her with these words, which are familiar to you: "You alone have been granted, most holy and most pure Mother of God, to see you always heard" . (7)

8. Fervent appeal for peace

We too together with you raise our plea to it, so that Christian truth, decorum and support of human coexistence, may be strengthened and vigorous among the peoples of Russia, and all the deceptions of the enemies of religion, all their errors and their wicked arts are rejected from you far away; so that public and private customs return to conform to evangelical norms; so that those especially among you who profess to be Catholics, although deprived of their pastors, resist with fearless strength against the assaults of impiety until death; so that that just freedom which belongs to the human person, citizens and Christians, may be restored to all, as is their right, and in the first place be restored to the Church, which has the divine mandate to teach all men in religious truths and in virtue; and finally, so that true peace may shine forth to your beloved nation and to all humanity, and that this peace founded on justice and nourished by charity may happily direct all peoples to that common prosperity of citizens and peoples which derives from mutual harmony of minds.

May our most loving Mother be pleased to look with benign eyes even at those who organize the ranks of militant atheists and give every impulse to their initiatives. May it illuminate their minds with the light that comes from above, and direct their hearts to salvation with divine grace.

9. Consecration of the peoples of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

We, therefore, so that Ours and your prayers are answered more easily, and to give you a singular attestation of Our particular benevolence, as a few years ago we consecrated the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of the virgin Mother of God, so now, in a way very special, we consecrate all the peoples of Russia to the same Immaculate Heart, in the sure confidence that with the most powerful patronage of the Virgin Mary the vows will happily come true as soon as possible, that We, that you, who all good people form for a true peace, for a fraternal harmony and due freedom to all and in the first place to the church; so that, through the prayer that We raise together with you and with all Christians, the saving kingdom of Christ, which is "the kingdom of truth and life, the kingdom of holiness and grace, the kingdom of justice, love and peace ", (8) triumphs in every part of the earth and is firmly established.

And with suppliant invocation we pray to the same most clement Mother, so that she may assist each one of you in the present calamities and obtain for your divine Son that light that comes from Heaven, and implore for your souls that virtue and that strength, by which, sustained by divine grace, may you victoriously overcome every impiety and error.

Rome, at Saint Peter's, July 7, 1952, the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, XIV Year of Our Pontificate.




(1) Pius PP. XII, Epist. apost. In the holy year of the consecration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the entire Russian nation, [to all the people of Russia], 7 July 1952: AAS 44 (1952) pp 505-511.

(2) Leo XIII, Epist. enc. Great gift, Sept. 30, 1880: Acta Leonis XIII, II, p. 129; EE 3

(3) The Register of Gregory VII, 1, 2, n. 74: MGH Epist. select. II, I, p. 236

(4) AAS 22 (1930), p. 300

(5) AAS 22 (1930), p. 301.

(6) Cf. AAS 38 (1946), p. 154

(7) Acathistus, the patron saint of Feast Mother of God: Kondak 3rd.

(8) Preface on the feast of the King Jesus Christ.