July 27, 2018, at the Patriarchal residence in the Moscow Danilov monastery hosted a meeting of his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill met with the delegations of local Orthodox Churches who gathered in Moscow to participate in the celebration 1030-anniversary of the Baptism of Rus, reports patriarhiei.
The meeting was attended by:
- from the Antiochian Orthodox Church — the representative of the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Metropolitan Nifon filippopolsky;
- from the Jerusalem Orthodox Church, Metropolitan of Nazareth Kyriakos, representative of the Patriarch of Jerusalem to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Archimandrite Stephan (Dispirakis), priest John sham;
- from the Georgian Orthodox Church — Bishop Nikortsminda Vakhtang;
- from the Serbian Orthodox Church — Bishop Metropolitan Irenaeus, Bishop of Remezijanski Stephen, deacon Miroslav Nikolic, deacon Ivan;
- Cypriot Orthodox Church — Metropolitan Patski George, Archimandrite of Stelio (Stylianou);
- from the Polish Orthodox Church, Archbishop of wrocław and Szczecin George, hieromonk Spyridon (Cusack);
- from the Orthodox Church of the Czech lands and Slovakia, — the representative of the Orthodox Church of the Czech lands and Slovakia to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky), assistant representative hieromonk Alexander (dumpling).
Among the participants of the event were the Chairman of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of Administrative Secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Sergius of Solnechnogorsk, Archbishop Matthew, Bishop of Bronnitsy Paramon, Domodedovo Bishop John, Bishop of lukhovitskiy Peter, DECR Vice-Chairman Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR Secretary for inter-Orthodox relations Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk.
His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill addressed the congregation with words of welcome, stressing the spiritual and historical meaning of the baptism of Rus by the Holy equal to the apostles Prince Vladimir, on the value of Kyiv as the mother of Russian cities and the birthplace of Russian Orthodoxy. Speaking about the situation of Orthodoxy in Ukraine, his Holiness said: “Now the powers, alien to Orthodoxy, make a deliberate effort to destroy the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church. The strongest pressure is now on the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church: its Primate Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Onuphrius, in her episcopate, clergy and faithful. There is a widespread discrimination of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Ukrainian politicians have initiated the creation of the schismatic formations of the so-called “single local Church” and grant it autocephaly.”
“In these difficult conditions is truly priceless for us, the support of the fraternal local Orthodox Churches, the primates, the Holy Synods of all the bishops whom I on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church please convey our sincere deep appreciation, — said His Holiness. The Russian Orthodox Church, based on the immutable canons of the Holy and irrefutable documentary evidence, will never give up their Dnieper baptismal font, from the tradition coming from the Holy equal to the apostles Prince Vladimir of Kiev, and other pious princes, divine wisdom of the metropolitans of Kiev, the venerable fathers of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and other great Russian ascetics”.
As Patriarch Kirill, today the anti-Catholic forces are trying to undermine the unity of the world Orthodoxy and the attempts to tear away the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate could lead to disaster pan-Orthodox scale.
Next there were performances by guests from local Orthodox Churches.
The representative of the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Metropolitan Nifon filippopolsky sent to His Holiness the brotherly greeting of the Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Church and his congratulations on the remarkable date. “We are always pleased to be in the blessed city of Moscow. While you have among you, we feel your great attention to the Orthodox world, as well as your support Christians in the Middle East and our Church in these difficult times,” he said, in particular, Metropolitan Nifon.
“We are especially happy to be in beautiful, historic city of Moscow to celebrate the 1030-th anniversary of the baptism of Rus by the Holy equal to the apostles Prince Vladimir”, — said the head of the delegation of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church, Metropolitan of Nazareth Kyriakos, conveyed greetings and good wishes from his Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III. The Archbishop stated that occurred 1030 years ago, the event helped the formation of a new identity, promoted national unity, which remained intact, despite the danger from the surrounding lands and their Gentile peoples. “These people aware of their less favorable position, watching as their neighbors changed course, watched their prosperity and welfare, not only in material but also spiritual area — continued Metropolitan Kyriakos. — It is on this solid basis and Foundation to create the great Russia, which until our days is on this planet a special place”.
Bishop Nikortsminda Vakhtang (Georgian Orthodox Church), congratulated his Holiness Patriarch Kirill on behalf of his Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia Ilia II, said: “In our difficult days, which are full of temptations, wars, bloodshed, but unity and praying together will lead us out of this state”.
“I think the blessing of the Holy spirit and the special honour of being able to be here and to bring the most sincere fraternal greetings from the Patriarch of Serbia Your Holiness, and not only on him personally, but from both our Synod and the fullness of the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as congratulations on a wonderful occasion that is a celebration 1030-anniversary of the Baptism of Rus,” said the Bishop, Metropolitan Irinej, head of the delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
“You, Your Holiness drew attention to the fact that Russian people, the Russian state as a result of the wonderful revival in the font of the Dnieper created a civilization from the Baltic to the Pacific, from North to South, — continued the Serbian hierarchy. — As history shows, the Holy Prince Vladimir said that before baptism was a beast, and after his baptism became a man. He was not just a man, and the equal to apostles Saint of God, the illuminator of his people.”
Bishop Irenaeus testified that the Serbian Church and the Serbian people will always be grateful to the Russian people and the Russian Orthodox Church for its continued support, especially in difficult circumstances, in which there were Serbs at the end of the twentieth century. He also gratefully mention the assistance of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian state in the construction of St. Sava temple in Belgrade.
“The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the small Churches, but we are trying and will try to respond with gratitude and brotherly love for what you do for us and support in your trials. It used to be when our ancestors were given shelter and a new home to those who were forced to leave forever their Homeland after the October revolution, so it is now up to this crisis in Ukraine. You can always count on our participation in overcoming it,” said the Bishop, Metropolitan Irinej.
Representing at the celebrations of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, Metropolitan Patski George, conveyed the fraternal good wishes from his Beatitude Archbishop of New Justiniana and all Cyprus Chrysostom, mentioned that there was a joy and a blessing from God to participate in the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the baptism of Rus’, and in the celebrations in honor of his 1025-th anniversary and now has arrived in Moscow on the occasion of the 1030-th anniversary of this great event that changed the course of history not only of Russia but of the whole world.
“If the Russians hadn’t adopted Christianity, we would have another minority on the background of other peoples. If we, the peoples that lived under the thumb of Islam, had in-your-face support, we would not know where to turn for help, — said the head of the delegation of the Church of Cyprus. — Christianity is the link that connects us all.”
“We all know and honor of the Holy Prince Vladimir. We know that you read the place of the baptism of Russia”, — stated the Metropolitan Patski George. He further said, “I Give His words of Bliss, which assures that the Orthodox Church of Cyprus will always support the position of your Church in relation to the granting of autocephaly in Ukraine”. The Hierarch also emphasized the need to preserve the unity of Orthodoxy for the solidarity witness before modern civilization, which had strayed far from Christian principles.
“His Beatitude Metropolitan of Warsaw and all Poland Savva asked me to convey to You my sincere congratulations on the 1030-th anniversary of the baptism of Rus,” he said, addressing his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill, Archbishop of wrocław and Szczecin George (Polish Orthodox Church). The Archbishop said: “Your concerns and feelings associated with these celebrations show that the Orthodox Church’s anniversary is not only a historic date, but, above all, comprehension of the responsibility which God has called us to the Ministry.”
“Your Holiness, on behalf of the Polish Orthodox Church for the celebration 1030-anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’ — and our holiday, because we came from the Kievan baptismal font, thank You for the invitation, for fatherly love, for Your prayers and for the warm hospitality and the excellent atmosphere of celebration continued with the Polish hierarchy. — Allow me to thank You for what You give us an example of understanding the unity of the Church. No one and nothing could be more important than this unity. And may the Lord, through the prayers of the great saints of Holy Russia will retain this unity, may He help us to bear to the world the testimony of the risen Christ the Savior to bear with full responsibility, dedication and love for our peoples”.
The representative of the Orthodox Church of the Czech lands and Slovakia to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky) announced the message of his Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav. The message reads: “From the fullness of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia 1030 congratulate You on the anniversary of the baptism of Russia, the greatest event in the history not only of Holy Russia but also other Slavic peoples. Provider all, our Lord Jesus Christ called “the second Paul” Prince Vladimir, by making his precious vessel which contained the grace of the Holy spirit for enlightenment with the light of the Orthodox faith of his people, were Baptized in the blessed waters of the Dnieper. Continuing the work of saints Cyril and Methodius, Prince Vladimir, did not hesitate, approved of Orthodoxy in Russia, defining their choice of the future path of the Russian people and the Slavic world”.
His Beatitude Metropolitan of the Czech lands and Slovakia Rostislav stressed that especially prays for Ukraine and about the blessed city of Kiev, mother of Russian cities, where there is a historical sacred Dnipro water. “And pray of the unity of the suffering of the Ukrainian people and the Holy Church, its peace and prosperity, — said His Beatitude. — I believe that through the intercessions and prayers of the Holy Prince Vladimir before the Throne of God the all-merciful Lord will confirm the peace and unity of the fraternal peoples, sanctified by Holy Baptism from one font and enlightened by the preaching and deeds of the saints and the Reverend laid his life for the Holy Orthodoxy.”
In conclusion, addressing arrived to Moscow for the celebration 1030-anniversary of the Baptism of Russia to the delegations of his Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill said:
“I would like to thank you for your kind words, please convey my thanks and my love to the primates of the local Orthodox Churches, who sent you to participate in the celebrations. Whenever we get together, we make the divine Eucharist and testify before God and before the people of our unity.
Historically, the Orthodox Church was in the minority. But it is not a coincidence, this fact is a consequence of the huge cross, which was placed on the Orthodox East. And this cross, our Church endured. So today, although we are in the minority in relation to other Christian denominations, the same historical experience, which has experienced the Orthodox Church, a Martyr, the Church Confessor, strengthen us with you.
Now when a crisis of faith, crisis of religious life is observed in many of those denominations, which looked more favorable than the Orthodox Church, exhausted by persecution and suffering, we see a definite strengthening of the Orthodox faith. I as Patriarch of Moscow can happily say that despite 70 years of atheist captivity and naive, uncritical attitude of our people in 90 years to what was coming from the West, the Lord strengthens our people, first and foremost, the prayers of the new martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, the prayers of all the saints.
I know that each of you represents the Church, which has its sorrow. I see now Bishop Nifon, who most of his life spent in Russia, but belongs to East and carries the sorrow of the Church of Antioch, his people. Is it easy for Christians in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq? And is it easy to live with Christians in Western Europe? Hard anywhere. But God is stronger than Satan, and therefore our General attitude should be optimistic. At the same time we must confess our sins, our weaknesses and ask the Lord for help.
Such meetings as today’s, and tomorrow’s prayer and concelebration should strengthen us, help us to understand something that we maybe did not understand before fully and, most importantly, to give us the experience of fraternal, mutual spiritual support.
For that, I cordially thank you.”
Each delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church presented a set of Eucharistic vessels and other gifts.