MOSCOW: December 4, 2010
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill Congratulates Metropolitan Hilarion on the 35th Anniversary of His Clerical Service

To His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, President of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

Your Eminence, dear in the Lord Vladyka!

I send you my heartfelt congratulations on this important date, the 35th anniversary of your service as a clergyman, and prayerfully wish you strength and Divine aid in your archpastoral service.

Christians are at all times called upon to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14).Witnessing the Truth, heralding the “acceptable year of the Lord,” all of us, archpastors, pastors, monastics and the laity of the One Russian Orthodox Church, must in word and deed, in good relations with our neighbors, exhibit “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

This is especially important today, when Christian values, spiritual and moral traditions and centuries-old foundations are being forced out of social life. Our mission is to illuminate our contemporaries with the light of the Gospel, to create and grow church communities, to proclaim of Divine Truth. It gives me great joy to see that you devote special attention to this salvific service to the Church.

I hope that, God willing, you continue to carry out this task, which is fraught with difficulties, with untiring zeal and love, with hope and responsibility, towards which the Chief Pastor, Christ, has directed you.

It is both my pleasure and duty to give you a commemorative panaghia to mark this occasion.

Through the intercession of the Queen of Heaven, whose Entrance into the Temple the Holy Church celebrates today, may the Lord preserve you in good health for many blessed years.

With love in Christ,