Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I greet all of you who have gathered here in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, to discuss means of cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and our compatriots living in the countries of Latin America.
It is no accident that Argentina was chosen as the venue for this meeting: the largest community of our compatriots lives here, the oldest Russian Orthodox church in Latin America is found here, as are the centers of two dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church in South America.
Latin America has received several waves of Russian emigres. No matter which corner of this continent our compatriots settled in, they always sought first of all to set up a place for common prayer. For the spiritual children of the Moscow Patriarchate who find themselves abroad, participating in divine services and parish life have helped preserve the threads that connect them to the Homeland.
I feel pain in my heart over the departure of several Russian parishes into schism. In many ways, this was caused by ignorance about the life of the Moscow Patriarchate today. It is important to make every effort to reestablish church unity, to bring the significance of the Act of Canonical Communion within the Russian Orthodox Church, signed in 2007, to our brethren who are in schism. We are given hope for the healing of division by the fact that parish life, despite many difficulties, is not dying, and that not only the older but the younger generation, too, attends church.
The Russian Church, in its pastoral and educational work, is open to work with everyone who wishes to labor towards the rebirth and growth of the traditions of Russian Orthodoxy.
I hope that this round table proves fruitful and will serve towards the strengthening of the bonds between the Russian-speaking diaspora in Latin America and the Mother Church.
Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk
Department of External Church Relations
of the Moscow Patriarchate