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Speech of His Holiness Cyril, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia ( 04.02.2009 )

Your Eminences, Heads and representatives of the Holy Churches of God! Honored Dimitri Anatolievich Medevedev, President of the Russian Federation! Honoured Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, Prime Minister!

Deeply respected leaders and representatives of the Orthodox nations, who are under the wing of the Moscow Patriarchate, representatives of other countries! Reverend brothers Hierarchs! Honoured Fathers Abbots, Mother Superiors and Priors, Dear in Christ Brothers and Sisters.


In the goodness of the Holy Spirit and to the will of members of the General Assembly of the Church, now I, the unworthy one, was enthroned by my brothers on the Throne of Patriarchs of Moscow and all Russia and received the gifts of the patriarchy power. Your prayers, your good personalities are guiding me now, before I start my patriarchy service, which will be no easy and which will not be without hindrances.

God and the Church placed a heavy cross over me, a cross that demands full dedication and full devotion to such service, and I was called to this service by the triple placing on the Patriarchy Throne. Not without a reason on the shoulders of the Patriarch it is put a mantle - a symbol of denying everything and all deeds that are not Patriarchy Service, a symbol of devotion only to God till the end of the earthly life, a symbol of only obeying of His will, in the deed and model of Him, Who “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philip. 2, 8)

It is not and it will be not anything in the life of the Patriarch that shall be private or personal; he himself, and the whole his life belong completely only to God and the Church, his heart is aching for the people of God, particularly those who fall out of the Church unity, and those who still didn’t meet the Faith in God.

The Patriarchy service is a personal spiritual struggle. And such struggle cannot be achieved in isolation or with a help of a little group of like-minded. In this struggle, through prayer and deeds the whole Episcopacy is involved, the whole fullness of the Church with the whole variety of gifts, present in its members, is involved.

Therefore, aware of my unworthiness, I sit on this Patriarchy throne with great inner will, quietly asking for praying intercession of my Holy predecessors – the Saints of Moscow and Kiev – in front of God’s Throne. I call in my thoughts the Holy Heads of our Church, and mostly those who served in modern times, starting with the Saint and Confessor Tikhon and ending with forever-mentioned Holy Patriarch Alexy the Second.

The Patriarch is the custodian of the Church unity and together with his brothers from the Episcopacy defends the purity of faith in God. I consider the enthronement being on this day as a special sign of God, because today the feast of St. Marko from Ephes is to be celebrated – the one who was so devoted protector of the Orthodoxy. Patriarch must not allow the disagreements, which “may arise from time to time,” according to the Apostle (1 Corinth. 11,19) to become schisms and false teachings.

Patriarch must take care for every person in its unique nature to finds its place in the organism of the Church, and in the same the differences in opinion not to disturb the spirit of love or weaken the general efforts in building the Home of God.

“The most important is the unity, secondly the freedom, but essentially the love” – these words of St. Vincent from Lerin have to be the leading principle in the Church life.

Patriarch is the protector of the outer Canonical borders of the Church. Thus, such service gets a special meaning after the establishing of the independent states in the territory of historical Russia. Respecting their sovereignty and co-working for the benefit of each of such countries, Patriarch must take care in the same time about keeping and strengthening the spiritual relations among their peoples, to preserve the system of common values, and such system is a legacy of the Orthodox civilisation of Holy Russia.

One particular duty of the Patriarch is to preach about the religious-moral ideals related to realities of the contemporary daily life. The testimony about authenticity and the beauty of the Orthodoxy will be received by people only then as they become aware what meaning it has in their personal, family and social life, and as they learn how to connect the eternal Words of God with the reality of the daily life, with their concerns, joys or sorrow.

To connect Orthodox religion and the evangelistic morality with every-day’s thoughts, hopes and aspirations of people does mean to help them answer to the most complex views to the existence and the ethical subjects of contemporary times. Independently of the pluralism and contradictories of the existing analyses and convictions in the society today, the Faith in God will become reasonable and requested only then, as man acknowledge and deeply feel the undoubtedly certain justice and power of God’s Revelation. And, if such truth does not become certain for most of the people, this will mean that the beauty and conviction of Word of God eclipses from the factor, which we call today “the human factor.”

The witnessing of Church towards the world assumes not only preaching from the Church cathedra, but a frankly, friendly and interesting dialogue, in which both sides are ready to speak and to listen. Only in such dialogue, the truths of the Faith in God become more understandable, because they enter in a creative and live context to the thoughts and beliefs of people. On the other hand, in such a dialogue, the Church reaches the right perception about what the contemporary man with his way of thinking and his questions related to Church, presents.                                   

This dialogue helps the closer understanding between the people with different points of view and different convictions, including religious, and it helps in powering and strengthening the civil peace and agreement with our states and societies. In the frame of this amicable dialogue and the collaboration based on the Constitution, we shall develop the Church-State relations, too. Such relations will serve the benefit both of the Church and the state, in a word, the benefit of all the people.

The Head of each parish Church, together with brothers from other Churches have to take care of the unity of the Cosmic Orthodoxy. I thank to here present Hierarchs and representatives of the Holy Orthodox Churches for the common pray they’ve made, and I declare that I will be open for dialogue with Sister Churches, and for our common efforts in the strengthening and advancing of the whole-orthodox cooperation and for better coordination of pastoral and missionary activities.      

Our particular care today should be the youth, because the youth has a strong need of spiritual leadership. In the epoch of moral relativism, when the propaganda of the violence and perversion kills the souls of the youngsters, we cannot expect that the youth will ask for Christ alone. That is us who must go to young people – no matter how hard is such move to us, who belong to middle or old age generations.

That is us, who must help them getting and receiving the Faith in God, and the sense of life, and with such knowledge they find out about the real man’s path.

A strong personality, united and multi-children family, solidarity society – all this is just a consequence of an honest and deep Faith in God.     


Our Christian obligation is to take care about those who suffer, the orphans, the poor, the disabled and handicapped, the elder ones, the prisoners, the homeless – about all to whom we can help to get the hope. The voice of Church has to be voice of the weak and deprived ones, the voice of those who search for justice.    


A big and not an easy work lies in front of us. And in this moment I will remind myself of the words of the first and of the fifteenth Russian Patriarchs: “A good job you have done building and decorating churches – wrote the Holy Patriarch Job – but if in the same time we dishonour ourselves with our passions, then God will not forgive neither to us or to our churches.” And: “From the ashes and from the sinner abyss the New Russia will rise – Russia, which will give vast of ascetics in faith and devotion, Russia, which builds churches in the cities, villages and in the hearts of people, Russia, which shines with love and justice, the Holy Russia.” God helps us these inspirational words of the Holy Patriarch Alexy II to become prophetic.        


I thank you from the depth of my heart, to all of you present here, for the prayer. I do hope that your praying support, and your confidence in me in front of God, will never end. To all of you, priests, hierarchs and children of our Church, I will speak with the Holy words of Apostle Paul: “Brothers, be happy, improve yourselves, console yourselves, be united in thoughts, live in peace – and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinth. 13,11). Amen.