Dear brothers and sisters! 

Today, on July 28, we honor the memory of the Holy Prince Vladimir  and celebrate the Day of the baptism of Rus’!

More than a thousand years ago, the light of Christ's Truth shone in Ancient Russia and the history of the Russian Orthodox Church began. Today, looking back at the past and looking at the present, we see that the Russian Church throughout its existence has been going through difficult times: it was feverish with the people and the state; it was overcome by internal Church troubles; finally, it was criticized and reviled for the words of the Gospel sermon.
However, in spite of many different obstacles, the Orthodox Church in Rus’ (and we understand that Rus’ is a much broader concept than today's state borders suggest) was, is, and will be a true source of light and a beacon to salvation for people. The Holy Church, the preacher of truth, appears as a comfort for the suffering and searching human soul. The Orthodox Church, with its Golden-domed temples and sincere clergy, is the companion and friend of every person who strives for joy and love.
And today, my dears, I want everyone to remember that our lives are passing like milestones in Church history. After receiving baptism, we enter a completely new life, where the Gates of Heaven open to us, and we are able to feel the true happiness and joy that come through the fulfillment of the gospel by works of love and charity and through the the sincere conversion of the heart to God. Trough life in the Holy Church and its Sacraments. However, the busy winds of everyday life, various life problems and concerns more and more often turn our heart away from the Christian life, which leads us to joy and healing of the soul. But just as the most terrible events in the history of mankind could not shake the Church, so, according to the word of the Apostle Paul, nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35).
And no matter how difficult and sad it may be for us at times; no matter how lonely, unhappy, and confused we may feel, it all turns to dust as soon as we sincerely listen to the voice of the Church and turn our heart and our life to God. It is the effort of free will is the first step that we need to achieve true happiness and comfort. And also for the opportunity to see the wonder of this world. And in this, as a good companion and even a crutch, we are helped by the Church of Christ and the clergy assigned for this purpose, who extend their hand to everyone with an open heart.
Once again, happy holiday, dear ones! All the joy of the heart and all the well-being to you. 
The blessing of the Holy Trinity be with you!
Hieromonk Nikon, rector of the Holy Trinity Church in Mebane.