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SAN FRANCISCO: May 14, 2006

Epistle of the IV All-Diaspora Council
to the God-loving Flock
of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Christ is Risen!

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"
( Psalms 133:1)

We, the members of the IV All-Diaspora Council, having gathered from all corners of the world in the God-saved city of San Francisco, address you from the Cathedral of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow" with the words of the Savior: "These things I command you, that ye love one another" (John 15:17).

Before the sessions of the Council began, a moleben was held before the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God and at the uncorrupt relics of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco . During the solemn rite of the opening of the Council, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus called upon everyone to open their hearts to the action of the grace of God. Greetings to the Council from His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia and the heads of other Local Churches were read.

Lectures on the spiritual and historical legacy and the current state of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia were heard, and also detailed reports on the work of the Commission on talks with the corresponding Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Discussions were held after each report with the participation of bishops, clergymen and laymen; that is, by the entirety of our All-Diasora Council.

Plenary sessions of the Council were accompanied by prayer. Daily Liturgy with common singing of prayers; the wondrous words of Paschal joy; and a ceremonious moleben and akathist to the Most-Holy Mother of God and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia performed in the Cathedral, which was overfilled with worshipers.

While discussing the draft Resolution of the Council, each paragraph was carefully studied and corrections made, so everyone participated in its creation. In truth, this was a conciliar creation in which we sensed the palpable grace of the Holy Spirit which gathered us together. Each paragraph of the text was voted on separately, and was adopted with magnificent unity of spirit.

Many members of the Council attested later that the conciliar unity achieved through suffering in common effort was seen by them as a miracle.

We now call upon our God-loving flock to prayerfully support the constructive task begun by our IV All-Diaspora Council. Its culmination will be the reestablishment of the unity of the Local Russian Church desired by all.

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful" (Colossians 3:15).

+ Metropolitan Laurus

And the members of the IV All-Diaspora Council

May 1/14, 2006