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MOSCOW: May 20, 2012
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill Officiates at Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral During the Celebration of the Fifth Anniversary of the Unification of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Fatherland and Abroad

On May 20, 2012, the Sixth Sunday of Pascha and the Sunday of the Blind Man, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia officiated at Divine Liturgy, marking the fifth anniversary of the reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Fatherland and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. He was joined in the service by a delegation from ROCOR.

Participating in the service were: His Eminence Metropolitan Yuvenaly of Krutitsa and Kolomensk; His Eminence Metropolitan Varsonofy of Saransk and Mordva, Administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate; His Eminence Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk, President of the Department of External Church Relations; His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, Vice President of the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR;His Eminence Archbishop Feofan of Berlin and Germany of the Moscow Patriarchate; His Eminence Archbishop Grigory of Mozhaisk; His Eminence Archbishop Arseny of Istrina, First Vicar to Moscow of His Holiness; His Eminence Archbishop Innokenty of Vilnius and Lithuania; His Eminence Archbishop Evgeny of Verey, Chairman of the Scholarly Committee of the Russian Orthodox Church;His Eminence Archbishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe; His Eminence Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA; His Eminence Archbishop Feognost of Sergiev Posad, Chairman of the Synodal Department of Monasteries and Monasticism and Prior of Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra;His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Egorievsk, Head of the MoscowPatriarchates Administration for InstitutionsAbroad; His Grace Bishop Feofilakt of Dmitrov;His Grace Bishop Tikhon of Vidnovsk; His Grace Bishop Ignaty of Bronnitsk, President of the Synodal Youth Department; His Grace Bishop Roman of Serpukhov; His Grace Bishop Sergy of Solnechnogorsk, Head of the Administrative Secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate;His Grace Bishop Savva of Voskresensk, Prior of Novospassky Stavropighial Monastery;His Grace Bishop Nikolai of Blashikhinsk; Protopriest Vladimir Divakov, Secretary of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia on Moscow Affairs; Protopriest Nikolai Balashov, Vice President of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate; Protopriest Mikhail Ryazantsev, Senior Priest of Christ the Savior Cathedral; priors of stavropighial monasteries; clergy members of the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and other clergymen of Moscow.

Also praying at the service were the abbesses and residents of the convents of Moscow Diocese, pilgrims from the Moscow region, and members of a youth pilgrimage from the parishes of the Russian Church Abroad. Moscows Synodal Choir sang under the direction of Alexei Puzakov.

Prayers were lifted for the repose of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II and His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory, who both signed the Act of Canonical Communion on May 17, 2007, which reestablished canonical communion between the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Before Holy Communion, Protopriest Michael Ryazantsev read a Patriarchal Epistle to the Archpastors, Pastors, Deacons, Monastics and Faithful Flock of the Russian Orthodox Church on the occasion of the fifth anniversary.

After Liturgy, a moleben of gratitude was performed. During the augmented litany, special supplications were intoned That He might mercifully accept, at His heavenly altar, the present thanksgiving and prayer of the Russian Church, to keep it whole and triumphant over all the assaults of the enemy," "to bring back to His Holy Church all those who have fallen away, and to calm her troubles, and to strengthen His faithful and keep them in the true faith," and "to root out of our Church all hatred, hostility, offenses and other lawlessness, and to shelter her in peace and charity."

The Patriarch of the Russian Church read the following prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Who by the grace of the Holy Spirit hast abolished the wall of divisions and granted us to glorify Thy most honorable and majestic Name with one mouth and one accord, and together to be communicants of Thy Holy Mysteries! Accept this spiritual offering and our giving of thanks, which we offer to Thee as we are able, for Thy beneficence shown to the RussianChurch and to our people.

Being mindful of Thy promise, that Thou wouldst remain with Thy disciples all the days till the end of the world, and that no one can separate us from Thy love, we pray to Thee Who reconcilest us: confirm in us the fear of Thee, and genuine charity amongst us, that all may understand that we are Thy disciples, having love between us. Deliver our Church from all evil round about, granting us peace and tranquility. For Thou are the God of mercy and kindness and love towards mankind, and to Thee we send up glory, together with Thy Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen".

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill then delivered a sermon.

In memory of the fifth anniversary of the reestablishment of prayerful and canonical unity between the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Vladyka then gave Metropolitan Hilarion and in his person the fullness of the Church Abroad a holy icon of St Matrona of Moscow with a copy of her biography, with the words:

Holy Matrona gathers thousands and thousands of people every day at her miracle-working tomb. This recently-canonized woman lived in the Soviet Union as an invalid, yet while suffering complete physical weakness, she became the brightest and most powerful saint of Moscow and our Church during a period of terrible persecutions and divisions. May her image help those who doubt the correctness of what occurred five years ago to realize that Divine grace is greater than human weakness, it is stronger than human disfigurement and more powerful than mortal frailty, and that in even amidst such human powerlessness, His Divine might is manifested.

In memory of the daysdivine services and as a token of gratitude for ministering to the flock of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill gave Metropolitan Hilarion a cross and panaghia.

Metropolitan Hilarion responded with a speech and gave the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church a portrait of His Holiness painted by the artist IV Babailov.

Many Years was then sung for His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.

Press Service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

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