MOSCOW: February 25, 2008
The Address of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and the Delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia Read at the Namesday Celebration of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II

From the Editors: On February 25,2008, the namesday of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, His Holiness celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, along with a multitude of archpastors of the Local Russian Orthodox Church. During the brotherly trapeza that followed, His Grace Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe read the following congratulatory address on behalf of the Russian Church Abroad. Before the prayer of gratitude, His Holiness awarded His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus the Order of St Sergius of the First Rank.

Your Holiness, Holy Vladyko! Eminent archpastors, reverend pastors, dear in Christ brothers and sisters:

I wholeheartedly greet you in the words of the ancient Christians: "Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus" (1 Peter 5:14); "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace" (Romans 15:13). My profound congratulations, Your Holiness, on your namesday!

Today, together with you, we stood before the holy Divine altar table with spiritual trembling and raised the Bloodless merciful Sacrifice for each and all to the "Author and Finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). Having partaken of one Heavenly Bread and having drunk from one Chalice of Life, we once more witnessed our unity, brotherhood and mutual love, we more deeply experienced our spiritual kinship and more closely united in seeking "the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" (Romans 14:19). It brings us joy that the relations between the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church are being established on the indestructible foundations of Gospel love, enabling our spiritual growth "unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).

I once again congratulate Your Holiness, we ask that you accept this gift: an icon of St Kirill, Metropolitan of Kazan, whose ecclesiology helped us find the path to reestablish unity within the Russian Orthodox Church. Together with this gift we ask that you accept from the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia an expression of our heartfelt Christian feelings and immutable love for you, Your Holiness, and for the entire Russian Orthodox Church.

Together with the entire God-loving flock of the Russian Church Abroad, we raise augmented prayers to the All-merciful Lord, that He may, through the intercession of St Alexy, Metropolitan of Moscow, at whose shrine we prayed, bountifully pour out upon you and the entire Russian Orthodox Church the grace-filled gifts of the Holy Spirit, that you may perform your lofty and responsible service to the Holy Church of Christ in health and longevity!

Many Years to Your Holiness!

Many Years to the archpastors, pastors and all faithful flock of the Russian Orthodox Church!