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MOSCOW: February 14, 2012
Patriarchal Greetings on the Day of Orthodox Youth

To the Archpastors, Pastors, Monastics and All Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church:

I send my heartfelt greetings on the great feast day of the Meeting of the Lord and today’s Day of Orthodox Youth.

Youth is a blessed time, filled with energy, enthusiasm, the revelation of talent and of possibility. This Divine gift can be exploited by each person as he or she sees fit, for, not yet burdened by the cares of mature life, they have the opportunity for searching, perfecting, and self-development.

It must be recognized that, while having the desire to realize one’s abilities, young people are not always able to carefully make sense of their actions and predict the consequences of their deeds, because their internal value system has not yet strengthened and there is a lack of life’s experience. The ability to think soberly is hindered by instinct and the temptations of youth. But the endeavor to perfect oneself, to “become someone,” is important and valuable; it cannot be ignored either by young people or their teachers.

As I address our youth, I call upon you to make use of the invaluable gift of youth to comprehend Divine teachings, to absorb our national culture and serve ones neighbor. This is the path for those who wish to develop into strong personalities, seeking the fullness of being and true happiness.

I address the teachers of young people, all who are involved in the education and formation of youth, first of all, be worthy examples in every way, for living examples of piety and chastity are more persuasive than any lesson.

We must all express love, respect and patience for each other. We are also called upon to cherish the spiritual legacy of our people, to draw strength for standing in the truth and unity of mind in the reverence for the podvigi of our fathers and forefathers, in our many centuries of rich traditions. I am convinced that the coming celebrations of the most important of events—the 400th anniversary of the end of the Time of Troubles and the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino—can act as a practical opportunity to acquaint young people with the history of their nation and people.

Only in this way, through preserving our national memory, the absorption of the key values of our ancestors, through the comprehension of the truth of Orthodox Christianity, will the generations commune and achieve “unity of spirit in the unity of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). The prototype of this meeting of the generations is the Meeting of Elder Simeon the God-Receiver with the God-Child Jesus Christ, which we celebrate today.

I congratulate all of you on this feast day, prayerfully wishing you the bountiful help of the Lord in your studies, your spiritual and intellectual maturation, and in your effort to benefit your neighbors, near and far, your Fatherland and Church.

May God’s blessings be with you all.

+ KIRILL,
PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA.