NEW YORK: November 23, 2021
The First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad sends welcome address to the conferees at
“Links Between Times. Conclusions and Perspectives. On the Centennial of the Russian Church Abroad”
Welcome Address to the Attendees of the Conference
“Links Between Times. Conclusions and Perspectives.
On the Centennial of the Russian Church Abroad”
November 10/23, 2021
Your Holiness, Your Eminences and Excellencies,
Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,
As we prayerfully relive the commemorations of the First All-Diaspora Council, I offer my heartfelt greetings to you in Serbia, a country to which the ROCOR is tied by birth. Over the decades, our founding fathers carried with them a feeling of love and gratitude to the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for the kind hospitality they showed to the Russian exiles. For me, therefore, it is especially valuable to be able to greet those taking part in the services and conference in Belgrade, the primatial city of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Thanks be to God that, despite the current unpredictable circumstances of our lives, the conference has been able to take place in a direct, in-person format.
Beyond the fact that this academic event has brought together leading experts on the history of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia from around the world, it is also a conciliar undertaking on the part of the Church. From the very beginning, the Russian Church Abroad has been associated with conciliar principles, which have been preserved at the levels of the episcopate, diocese, and parish, carrying on the legacy of the All-Russian Local Council of 1917–1918. Metropolitan Laurus, of everlasting memory, spoke about about the implementation of these conciliar principles in one of his last public addresses, at an annual conference of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox University of the Humanities in 2008: “So, dear fathers, brothers and sisters in the Lord, our humble refugees, the bishops, clergymen and laity built the Russian diaspora outside of her borders, while she herself was suffering at the hands of the atheists. They knew that the main goal of church life is the creation of a real Christian community. Just as every ordination of a clergyman is intended for a physical church, each baptism is performed for a concrete community. Everyone in the Church must serve—our example for this is the Lord Himself, Who said: ‘but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister’ (Matthew 22:26). This is the example of serving God and man: the greater your authority, the greater is your duty towards your neighbor.”
If the upcoming conference rouses interest in conciliar work and increased cooperation among bishops, clergy, and the People of God within our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, then it can be deemed a success.
My thanks go to the organizers, Dr. Radovan Pilipovic and Dcn. Andrei Psarev, for all their efforts, and to all the participants and donors. Reverently bowing in thought before the graves of the fathers whom we share with the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as before the feats of confession of its current archpastors, pastors, and laymen, headed by His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije, I thank all of you again and ask for your holy prayers, while wishing you a productive and blessed conference.
Yours with love in the Lord,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
First Hierarch of the ROCOR