DIOCESE OF SAN FRANCISCO AND WESTERN AMERICA: November 16, 2006
The Diocesan Clergy Send a Greeting to Metropolitan Laurus on the Occasion of His Fifth Anniversary as First Hierarch
To His Eminence, The Most Reverend Metropolitan Laurus,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia:
We, the clergy of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who have gathered for a Pastoral Conference at the Church of the Holy Ascension in California's capital, Sacramento, greet Your Eminence with the Fifth Anniversary of your elevation to the position of First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.
Every First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has had to face particular challenges and difficulties. Five years ago, the Lord called you to His service as our First Hierarch. He called you to this service at a such a time in the history of the Russian Church Abroad when major changes took place in the life of the Church in Russia – changes which would make it possible for both parts of the Russian Church, in Russia and abroad, to overcome their differences and embark upon the path of restoring church unity.
In God's great mercy, He has allowed both you and us not only to witness, but also to be actual participants in this God-pleasing and historical reunification process. We, the clergy of the Western American Diocese who have gathered at the Pastoral Conference, unanimously express our filial loyalty to you, we assure you of our prayers and of our complete support of the decisions made at the IVth All-Diaspora Council, the 2006 Sobor of Bishops and the Synod of Bishops in regards to completing the process of restoring canonical unity between the two parts of the Russian Church without hesitation. We know of your faithfulness to the Church of Christ, your 65 years of monastic life, your 40 years of service as a Bishop and your gift of discernment and we trust you completely.
We understand that, in such a God-pleasing matter as reconciliation and the restoration of unity, there will be temptations and difficulties. During our pastoral retreat we remembered the words of Saint Herman of Alaska, that in matters of salvation there cannot be any hesitation. “From this day, from this hour, from this minute we must strive to love God above all.” The restoration of Church unity is a matter of God, a matter of love, and a matter vital to the salvation of all the children of the Church of Russia.
We ask for your First-hierarchal blessing and your holy prayers.
and the clergy of the Western American Diocese
November 2/15, 2006