NEW YORK: September 10, 2008
The First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad Sends a Greeting to the International Church Music Conference “The Russian Diaspora: Music And Orthodoxy” In Moscow
Dear in the Lord Fathers, Brothers and Sisters!
I send my heartfelt greetings to all the participants of the international scholarly conference “The Russian Diaspora: Music and Orthodoxy” and wish you heavenly aid and blessed success in your work.
The composers and church choir directors in the Russian diaspora preserved and increased the great legacy of the pre-Revolutionary Russian Orthodox Church, and, as they grieved for their Fatherland, they illuminated their own compositions with the sounds of Holy Russia, sprinkled with the blood sweat and tears of many princes, hierarchs, saints, New Martyrs and Confessors. Also, their works are the collective oeuvre of the Russian Church Abroad, an expression of her theology, love, aspirations and piety. Indeed, if an icon or fresco is called “theology in paint,” then our Russian church music, the songs of our holy monasteries and composers can be called “theology in sound,” for our church singing, like an icon, “fills the soul with heavenly bliss, or brings tears of kindheartedness. It lifts our thoughts above all that is worldly, it makes peace within us and with our neighbors, it diminishes our weaknesses, lightens our sorrows, and warms our hearts with heavenly love.”Those are the words of the revered spiritual father of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, Hegumen Gurii, who reposed several years ago, and I am deeply convinced that he is right. That is why these familiar sounds are dear to the Russian Orthodox Christian, they are pondered, experienced, lived through time and time again by our God-bearing people. That is why we must cherish these songs as monuments of church and socio-religious vocal art. Efforts to preserve and restore our traditions in church singing are one of the main goals of those to whom the interests of the Church and of our people.
Once again I congratulate the organizers and all the participants of this conference, and wish all of you, beloved in the Lord fathers, brothers and sisters, bountiful mercies and Divine blessings!
With love in the Lord and beseeching your prayers,
Metropolitan and Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.