MOSCOW: March 17, 2008
The Patriarch's Condolences on the Death of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad To the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Brother Archpastors!

It is with grief that I learned of the death of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus. In a telephone conversation with His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, we remembered the many years of labor of the venerable archpastor and the zealous servant of the Church of Christ.

I wish here to express my genuine condolences and sympathies with the entire episcopate, clergy and parishioners of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

For the faithful heart, throughout all of life's circumstances, the words of Apostle Paul serve as consolation and support: "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's" (Romans 14:8).

Today, on the week of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the Lord, having "put in His own power… the times and the seasons," called to the heavenly abode this tireless laborer, who was an example of fervent faith and unselfish bearing of the archpastoral cross for the good of the Mother Church and the people of God through his life, a life overfull with many good deeds.

I wish to note the enormous role Metropolitan Laurus played in the reestablishment of canonical unity of the Russian Orthodox Church after decades of tragic division in the 20th century.

We pray for the repose of the soul of newly-departed Metropolitan Laurus in the Heavenly Kingdom. May the merciful Lord help all of us to endure the pain of our loss with Christian dignity.

May the Lord grant Metropolitan Laurus eternal memory!

With love in the Lord,