Seminary President in Russia - 04/25/09
In his capacity as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude, the Most Blessed Metropolitan Jonah, is currently making his first official visit to the Church of Russia. After concelebrating Divine Liturgy on St. Thomas Sunday at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow with His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill, the Primates of the two regional Orthodox Churches exchanged greetings.
“It gives me great pleasure in these bright paschal days to greet the delegation of the Orthodox Church in America, headed by the Most Blessed Vladyko Jonah,” remarked His Holiness. “This, your first visit in your capacity as the newly-elected Primate, you make to the territory of the Patriarchate of Moscow, underscoring thereby the special nature of the relationship of American Orthodoxy with the Mother Church. This relationship, imbued with the spirit of love and unity, can truly be characterized by the words of the Apostle: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:5).” Today we sealed our unity by communion of the holy Mysteries of Christ, and every one of us, in responding to the touch of the grace of the Risen Lord, can exclaim, together with Thomas, from the fullness of heart, “My Lord, and my God!”(John 20:28).”
In response, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, offered the following thoughts: “Today’s opportunity to concelebrate with you, to make your personal acquaintance, to see, hear and feel the life of the Church, the living faith of the Russian Orthodox Church, gives me a sense of profound joy. The Orthodox Church in America is both a Sister and Daughter of the Russian Orthodox Church. Our church mission in North America is being built on the foundation that has been given to us by the Russian Orthodox Church, beginning with the monks from the Valaam monastery, who arrived in Alaska in 1794. We also remember with great love the holy hierarchs Innocent and Tikhon, as also all those who came from Russia in order to serve God and man in America, and have laid the foundation of our ecclesial being. Whenever I think about their service in North America, in our Church, I feel both the heaviness of the Cross, and the joy. Their vision of missionary endeavor in America, as well as in the whole world, gives us a common burden in archpastoral ministry.”
Photos courtesy of patriarhia.ru