MOSCOW: September 3, 2007
Epistle from His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II to His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus

To His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York, President of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Your Eminence!

In prayerful communion with you through our emissaries, I send you heartfelt greetings and congratulate you on this great celebration of the fortieth anniversary of your episcopal consecration and on your namesday.

Growing up at the Monastery of St Job of Pochaev, founded in the Carpathian Mountains by Vladyka Vitaly (Maximenko) of blessed memory, you came to love Christ from your youth and desired with all your heart to follow Him. The sorrows of wartime, which forced you to distant America, only strengthened this desire within you, and you made your monastic vows at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, after which you were ordained to the priesthood. Your lifelong desire became a reality amid the difficult circumstances of material need, which did not, however, diminish your spiritual fervor.

Your pastoral acumen and earnestness in your obedience persuaded the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to select you for consecration as a bishop. Dutifully bearing the responsibilities of Secretary of the Synod of Bishops amid the commotion of New York City, you did not abandon your monastic podvig, continuing to participate in the life of your home monastery, where some years later you accepted the burden of becoming its abbot.

Seeing your spiritual wisdom and great administrative experience, the Lord placed you at the helm of the Russian Church Abroad in a difficult historical moment. And now, the great day of the Ascension of the Lord arrived in the year 2007, when the entire Russian Church, together with the host of Holy New Martyrs and all the Saints of the Russian Land, standing before the Divine Altar, rejoiced in the completion of the mission which the Chief Pastor, Christ, laid upon Your Eminence. The reestablishment of lost unity became the most treasured gem in the crown of your labors for the Holy Church.

Your Eminence! On this joyous day for the Russian Church Abroad, which is shared also by the Church in the Fatherland, I wish you strength, health and wisdom in your difficult service, that the flock entrusted to you would gaze upon your podvig and be strengthened in church unity, that they would overcome temptation and receive the bountiful gifts of Divine Grace.

With love in the Lord,