MOSCOW: May 17, 2007
Address Given By His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus At the End of Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral
Your Holiness! Beloved archpastors, pastors and children of the Russian Orthodox Church!
By the Will of the Almighty God, the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, and also by heeding the call of the Christian heart and accepting the kind invitation of Your Holiness, I now have the opportunity to find myself within the blessed borders of Russia and to bow before her great holy sites.
Today, on the holiday of the Ascension of the Lord, we jointly celebrated Divine Liturgy in this rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Today, through His Ascension, the Lord, after an 80-year division beginning in 1927, calls upon us to begin a new era, to raise our mind to the heavens, and rid ourselves of the earthly snares of the past, heeding His promise: “I am with you until the end of time.” The restoration of this church shall be the symbol of the restoration of a sovereign Russia, and its great consecration on the feast day of the Transfiguration of the Lord in 2000 shall symbolize the spiritual transfiguration of her people.
In this church, on November 5, 1917, after a 217-year interruption, the election of St Tikhon, Patriarch-Confessor of All Russia, was held, as the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, a figure representing podvig and courage. One of the candidates to the patriarchate was the first Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of blessed memory, then Archbishop of Volynia, and the order of the election and installation of the Patriarch was developed by a commission headed by our second Primate, Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky) of blessed memory, then Archbishop of Kishenev.
In those fateful days, in October 1917, when voting on the restoration of the patriarchate began at the All-Russian Local Church Council, a revolution struck the nation and militant atheists seized control of the government, as a result of which the Church in the homeland was subjected to unprecedented persecutions, and millions of believers along with their pastor found themselves exiled abroad. Ties with the Church in the Fatherland were torn for many decades and now, with God's help, restoring prayerful-Eucharistic communion, we can joyfully exclaim as our forefathers had done at one time: “Not for us, not for us, but the glory is to Thy Name.”
I express the deepest gratitude to Your Holiness for the touching words of welcome you uttered to me and my fellow-travelers. I also address with thanks those who have gathered under the vaults of this splendid temple and by their presence, through their fervent and warm prayers, created a solemn and festive environment for the Eminent Archpastors, pastors and all the children of the Russian Orthodox Church, and greet them with the words of church blessing: “Peace be unto you all!” The Holy Church, during every service, frequently blesses us in this way. The peace she offers us is the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, this is the power and work of the Holy Spirit. The acquisition of the peace of Christ in the Christian life is equated with such good works as faith and love. Faith is the foundation of Christian life, love is its pinnacle. And since our Christian path is a path from faith to love, then over its entire course, it must be illuminated and warmed by the light of the peace of Christ. I am deeply gladdened that “The Lord granteth strength to His people and blessed mankind with His peace.” May this peace be “with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity” (Ephesians 6:24). Amen.
As a symbol of our thanks for your warm hospitality and in memory of today's great and historic event, we ask that you accept from us this gift: a copy of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, Protectress of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.