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MOSCOW: January 29, 2011
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill Congratulates Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany On his 70th Birthday

To His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain

Your Eminence!

I send my heartfelt greetings to you today on your 70th birthday.

Having come to love the Russian tongue, the Lord gradually opened for you the path of service to the Word of God. Your scholarly works in ancient Russian literature and pedagogical achievements gave you invaluable experience in painstaking research, disciplined thought and dialog. In accepting Orthodoxy, you were brought into communion with the Savior in the Mysteries of His Church.

Zealous for the gifts of your superiors, you visited the monasteries of Mouth Athos, where, meeting with the podvizhniki of monastic work, you learned the beginnings of “a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:10). Love for God and your efforts to please Him granted you the preference of a path as a monk and labors in the Vineyard of Christ to that of a grand career as an eminent scholar.

Over 35 years ago, you took upon yourself the pastoral cross. Spiritually ministering to Russian parishes in Western Germany, caring for the preservation of churches, you established a monastic community, and in your tireless preaching of the Gospel, you have shown yourself to be an example “in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

When the Lord chose you for service in the rank of the successors of the Holy Apostles, you performed “the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5) with untiring effort, love and zeal. Heeding the words of the prayer to the Great Hierarch God the Father, “keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are,” (John 17:11), through your benevolent position, based on Holy Tradition, you bore witness to the importance of reestablishing canonical unity within the Russian Church and contributed in many ways to this God-pleasing effort.

In recognition of your earnest labors, and in connection with your 70th birthday, I deem it worthy to grant you the Second Order of St Sergius of Radonezh.

I prayerfully wish you a bounty of gifts of the Holy Spirit. May the All-Merciful Lord preserve you in spiritual and physical strength for many more years. With love in Christ,

+KIRILL, PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA