NEW YORK: March 28, 2018
The First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad congratulates Archbishop Michael on his 75th birthday
To Your Eminence Archbishop Michael:
I congratulate you with a kind heart and brotherly love on your 75th birthday.
Praying today for you, I beseeched the Lord for your good health, joy and gladness of heart. Our Mother Church likewise prays for this, as we conclude the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom with the priestly words: “Christ, our God, ... Fill our hearts with joy and gladness always.” This vivifying joy, founded upon the gladness of Christ, is poured into the souls of men, restores the harmony of one’s forces, bringing us youth and strength in fulfilling the obediences laid upon us by Divine Providence. King David, beholding the constructive power of God on the soul of mankind, says as much in his 103rd Psalm: “so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.” The Psalmist promised those who revere God and piously bowing before His guidance that youth will return to him even in old age. In their internal spiritual experience, Christians know that Christ is the Eternal Spring, turning all who are venerable into the new, and making the promise of the King and Psalmist David possible.
Therefore, I prayerfully wish you help, consolation, strength and joy from Christ the Giver of Life, Who approaches Bethany now to raise up the Four-Day Lazarus, His friend, and ceremoniously enter the Holy City for the completion of His salvific task. May the Lord make you and all us participants in His nature and through this to receive His life and power, the offspring of the new life, which we are all reminded of during Holy Pascha!
With fraternal love in the Lord,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.