Congratulatory Address of the Synod of Bishops on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the archpastoral service of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
From the Editors: On Tuesday, December 10, 2019, on the feast day of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York and the 35th anniversary of the archpastoral service of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, at the end of Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany read the following congratulatory address from the members of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad.
We relay to you our heartfelt greetings to Your Eminence on the important occasion of the 35th anniversary of your accepting of the illuminated Grace of episcopal service.
“On this chosen and holy day” of yours we hasten to assure you that the fervent prayers lifted by you for the strengthening and confirmation of our service in the Church of Christ are ever dear to us, and that the episcopal staff of your Primatial service brings us profound consolation. What can we say about your untiring preaching of the Word of God not only to emigres and their descendants, but among their local populations?
There is unlikely to be a corner in the ecclesiastical regime entrusted to Your Eminence where mouths do not utter missionary preaching, which are edifying and emboldening. In your First-Hierarchal service we sense not only authority, but first and foremost, education, that is, the nourishment of renascent souls. In your approach to people we feel not the stringency of episcopal power, but paternal love, merciful, forgiving, creative and strengthening. Here, in the words of the Apostle, you have become “all things to all people.” And this Apostolic rule you expressed and continue to express in the fullness of your labors and actions in establishing and expanding the Russian Church Abroad entrusted to you by the Chief Pastor, Christ; you display it not only in the life of the Church but in your personal life. For you, in the words of the same Apostle, “there is neither Greek… nor Scythian… but Christ is all, and in all.”
Indeed, in accordance with the inherent kindness of your heart, dear Vladyka, as a lantern of peace and love for all equally, you are understanding, attentive and exceptionally accessible; whether an Orthodox Christian or heterodox person approaches you, whether renowned or unknown, educated or ignorant, elder or child—each receives from you a word of consolation and affection. Everyone sees in you a kind, loving father-benefactor, both the clergy serving under you and laity, from small to great.
Such qualities are not innate for each person, they are inherent in rare individuals, people with a broad, warm and responsive heart, with specifically Christian upbringing, imparted into them from childhood. With these qualities, you bind people as with cement, erecting the edifice of the Church and allowing it to soar higher, shining with the blessed light of Christ’s Truth amid the darkness of our heathen, secularized world.
And so we, your collaborators in the Vineyard of Christ, wish you, our good Primate and Abbot, to continue to rightly dividing the Word of Truth with the rare youthful energy you have had until today, good health and firmness of powers with the hope that the Lord will enable you to reach other and more rare anniversaries, including the 50th anniversary of your archpastoral service. This would be the finest crown to adorn the brilliant achievements of your service to the Church of God. Amen.
Beseeching your Primatial prayers, we have the honor of assuring you of our eternal devotion and fraternal love,
Archbishop of Berlin and Germany;
Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America;
Archbishop of Montreal and Canada;
Archbishop of Chicago and Mid-America;
Bishop of London and Western Europe;
Bishop of Canberra, Vicar of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand;
Bishop of Manhattan, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese.