Excerpts from an extremely pertinent sermon by New-Hieromartyr Vladimir (Bogoyavlensky) which he gave in 1901 (at the consecration of Met. Tryphon (Turkestanov)).
“…With the current fomenting of minds and religious contradictions, there is no small number of people in Christianity who do not think like Christians, who consider God’s wisdom, hidden in mystery, to be stupidity and madness.
And who does not know what serious, troubled times our Church is now suffering! There have never before been so many tares in Christ’s wheat field as there are now … Never before have the enemies of the Church taken up arms against her with such fury as they do now. Battling against her with the most dangerous weapons, the weapon of cultivated thought and corresponding words, they have torn up the realm of Christian faith along all of its lines, not leaving a single one of its truths untouched. Now, all at once, we have before us all the errors that have ever existed, and some that at least in their current stage of development have never existed.
And this all-denying, all-unsettling, all-destroying spirit of unbelief and free-thinking is, like a plague, like death – we shall use the words of the prophet – making strong to penetrate not only through our doors, but even through the windows and cracks, wanting, come what may, to remake everything here according to its way …
But hear what the Lord said to His Apostles, and in His person also to you: Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee (Acts 18:9-10).
Watch attentively the problems of the day that touch the faith and the Church; and, not leaving them to the tyranny of the world, strive through your words to shed light upon their ideas and sciences with the word of the Church.
… Do not let pass any opportunity to show them (ie. the intelligentsia of that time, my note) the possibility of combining healthy scientific knowledge with sincere faith, modern discoveries and developments with eternal principles of spiritual life, pleasure and comforts with the virtue of labor, the struggle of the world, and tranquility of heart.”
From: The Orthodox Word, Nos. 318-319.