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JERUSALEM: May 25, 2009
Patriarch Theofilos III Honors Patriarch Kirill On His Holiness’ Namesday

A moleben marking the namesday of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia was served at Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, led by Archimandrite Isidor (Minaev), Head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Mission, along with Archimandrite Joasaph (MacLellan), Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and other Mission clergymen. Praying at the service were the Russian Ambassador Petr Stegniy; Ukrainian Ambassador Ihor Tymofieiev; Belarussian Ambassador Igor Leschenya; Moldovan Ambassador Larisa Miculet; Archimandrite Ieronim (Crecu), Head of the Rumanian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem; Abbess Georgia of Gorny Convent; Abbess Moisseia of the Mount of Olives Convent; Abbess Elizabeth of Gethsemane Convent, their nuns and other worshipers. 

After the moleben, at a reception held in the Mission refectory, Archimandrite Isidor greeted His Beatitude Patriarch Theofilos III of Jerusalem, who arrived for the event, along with the other hierarchs who accompanied him: His Eminence Metropolitan Christodoulos of Eleftheroupolis; His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, General Secretary of the Jerusalem Patriarchate; and His Eminence Archbishop Methodius of Thabor.

Thanking His Beatitude the Patriarch for the honor of his presence, Fr Isidor said: “We are thankful to the Church of Constantinople, whence we received the Faith, but we are no less thankful to the Church of Jerusalem, which continues to illuminate the people of Russia who visit the Holy Land and draw spiritual strength here for their daily podvig. The Ecumenical Patriarch of course holds the primacy de jure, but the de facto leader is still the Church of Jerusalem, which is the Mother Church and keeper of the main Christian holy sites.”

In his speech, Fr Joasaph noted that it was not accidental that upon his monastic tonsure, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill was given the name of St Kirill, Equal-to-the-Apostles, Illuminator of the Slavs. St Kirill took upon himself the unimaginably difficult task, impossible but for Divine aid, of translating the Bible, divine service books and other writings into Church Slavonic, which was essential for the Slavs to live a Christian life. His Holiness possesses a rare gift of teaching; he can speak to the people in their own tongue. The reign of the late Patriarch Alexy II was marked by construction: the Lord enabled him to lead the resurrection, literally from the ruins, of many thousands of churches of God. With God’s help, this process of renovation and building will continue under His Holiness Patriarch Kirill as well. On his namesday, he wished His Holiness that the Lord expand his talent for teaching, so that, just as his heavenly protector, St Kirill, he could also illuminate the people of God with the light of the Gospel.

His Beatitude Patriarch Theofilos also congratulated Patriarch Kirill, wishing him abundant strength in his tireless missionary work, emphasizing that “during the visit of the Pope of Rome to Jerusalem, it is important to remember that we cannot allow the Church to become politicized or secularized. It is not society that must transform the Church, but the Church that must transform and heal mankind. The goal of the Church,” the Patriarch of Jerusalem continued, “is to carry the Truth into the world, to accept to her bosom every believer regardless of his political views, cultural and linguistic background.”

His Beatitude then gave a gift of two silver candleholders, saying “May the grace-filled flame from the Tomb of the Lord come to light these.”

In their greetings, the Ambassadors of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldavia expressed their good wishes to the new Primate of the Russian Church, and thanked the Jerusalem Patriarchate for the hospitality they exhibit to all the pilgrims of the former Soviet Union. Mrs Miculet noted that the people of Moldova view the missionary work of Patriarch Kirill with hope and gratitude. The Ukrainiam Ambassador stressed that “the Russian Orthodox Church plays an enormous role in the unity of the peoples of Russia and Ukraine.”