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SAN FRANCISCO: MAY 7, 2006

Greeting from Patriarch Maximos of Bulgaria

From His Holiness Patriarch Maximos of Bulgaria to His Eminence the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York, First-Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, and to the Delegates to the IV All-Diaspora Council and the Council of bishops of the Russian Church Abroad
Very Most Reverend Vladyka Metropolitan Laurus
Most Reverend Archpastors
Reverend Fathers
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Russian Church Abroad!

Christ is Risen!

We offer our heart-felt congratulations on the Glorious Feast of the Resurrection of Christ!

Your Council is beginning its work in these historic days when the entire Orthodox world chants the festal sticheron “this is the Day of the Resurrection, let us be illumined by the Feast, and let us embrace one another joyfully,” and we exchange the Paschal kiss of peace.

The Bulgarian church, with the same careful attention is following the process of building unity of the Russian Orthodox Church. We all pray that that the great Holy Russian Orthodox Church – Christ’s Martyr [Church] be healed of the bleeding wounds of division.

But this is not only a grievous wound. Today your division already manifested Church untruth, for there is no blessed basis for turning away from one Chalice of Christ on the basis of some principle that at one time could have been explained.

We pray with all our hearts for a canonical resolution consistent with the Gospels, of this very important matter, a [resolution] entailing great responsibility.

Our entire Church looks hopefully on the actions of your Council, especially since as we know, the Russian people and the Council of Bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate are unanimous in their openness and readiness for the desired unity of the Russian Church.

We all expect that with this great, good work, the Russian Orthodox Church will show the entire world true fruits of life in the Spirit of Christ – unity in truth, repentance, forgiveness, and love.

Your sorrow was our sorrow, and your joy will be our joy as well.

Chairman of the Holy Synod:

MAXIMOS, Patriarch of Bulgaria

May 5, 2006

Sofia