Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem: August 24, 2006
His Holiness Patriarch Theophilos Meets with His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and a Delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

On August 23, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia met with His Holiness Patriarch Theophilos at the premises of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. Participating in the meeting were His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, Overseer of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem; Hegumen Andronik (Kotliaroff), Deputy Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem; Hieromonk Nicholas (Perekrestov), Secretary of the Mission; the heads of the two convents of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in the Holy Land, Abbess Elizabeth and Abbess Moisseia; and the members of the delegation of the Russian Church Abroad accompanying Metropolitan Laurus.

At the outset of the meeting, which was held in the spirit of Christian love and mutual understanding, His Eminence Vladyka Laurus gave a detailed account of the reconciliation process between the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Archbishop Mark told His Holiness on the present state of affairs of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. His Holiness, carefully listening to the reports of Metropolitan Laurus, Archbishop Mark and the members of the delegation, expressed joy that the problems which arose between the Russian Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate are being overcome. His Holiness expressed the hope that ecclesiastical unity and communion would be restored and that the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem would continue to flourish.

A large group of pilgrims from the Diocese of Berlin and Germany, headed by Vladyka Mark, was then invited to participate in the meeting. His Holiness invoked God's blessing on the pilgrims and spoke with the pilgrims for a long time on the meaning of the Holy Church of Christ, of her universal spirit. His Holiness stressed the need to actively participate in the liturgical life of the Church, emphasizing the need for Orthodox unity and the consolidation of the spiritual forces of the Orthodox Churches for the struggle against evil in the world in general and the preservation of the holy sites and the Faith of Christ in the Holy Land in particular.

In conclusion, His Holiness wished the pilgrims enlightenment and renewal at the holy sites connected with the salvific works of our Savior. In his response, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus expressed gratitude to His Holiness for the support of the monastics in the Holy Land, wishing the leader of the Mother Church spiritual and physical strength in his patriarchal service. His Holiness then awarded His Eminence Vladyka Laurus and Archbishop Mark a second panaghia, the priests mother-of-pearl crosses, and the members of the delegation and pilgrims other gifts.

That day, His Eminence Vladyka Laurus, accompanied by the delegation members, visited the site of the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem and other holy sites, and participated in Divine Liturgy held that night at the Sepulchre of the Lord.