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NEW YORK: November 12, 2008
Metropolitan Hilarion sends a greeting to the 15th All-American Council

From the Editors: Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, Rector of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles, CA, and Secretary of Inter-Orthodox Relations of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, participating as an observer in the All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, read the following greeting during the opening of the event:

Your Eminences! Your Graces! Esteemed Reverend Fathers and Honored Delegates to the XV All-American Council! I greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The events of the past years have been momentous for the Holy Church of Russia and for our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. After 80 years of separation, which had resulted from the attempts of the God-fighting communists to destroy the Church in Russia, and which caused millions of Orthodox Christians to flee abroad, we have achieved reconciliation and established canonical and Eucharistic communion between the two parts of the Russian Church, in the homeland and beyond its borders. This is a sign of the great mercy of God, showing us that no matter how deep divisions may seem between us, people of good will on both sides can come together and achieve unity in Christ—as our Lord said, --“that all may be one, as We are.”

We are gratified that this reconciliation gives us the opportunity to stretch out a brotherly hand to the Orthodox Church in America and to the other Orthodox jurisdictions sharing this continent, and to strive to work together, as brethren in Christ, in fulfilling our mission here.

With the Orthodox Church in America we share a common heritage—the legacy of the holy Patriarch Tikhon, and we share the same two goals in our service in the new world: to preserve the great spiritual and liturgical traditions of the Russian Church and to reach out in missionary efforts to bring the treasures of Holy Orthodoxy to the people in these lands.

We look with joy at the positive fruits of our cooperation that have already appeared: the close collaboration of our Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville with both St. Vladimir’s and St. Tikhon’s Seminaries. There is much more that we can do together, including developing youth programs, Orthodox educational materials, liturgical resources, and active missionary work. We  ask that the Lord send His blessings upon this august assembly, the XVth All-American Council, and pray that this Council will work with one heart and one mind toward the benefit of the Holy Church of Christ.

+ Hilarion,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York 
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

November 10, 2008