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NEW YORK: July 22, 2008
The First Hierarch's Letter of Condolence to the Widow of Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

Dear Natalia Dmitrievna, beloved in the Lord!

It is with a sense of profound pain that I received the news of the repose of Aleksandr Isaievich Solzhenitsyn, who during the horrific years of the godless regime bore incredibly courageous witness to the truth, speaking out about the sufferings of our fellow Russians. Thanks to Aleksandr Isaievich, we who found ourselves in foreign lands we able to learn and understand those in lonely confinement, and with them all who were undergoing tribulation in our homeland, especially those imprisoned behind the icy walls of the all-embracing Soviet prison cell, persecuted for their faith and conscience.

Glory to God! through the prayers of the holy new-martyrs and confessors of Russia, Christ has risen in the hearts of many Russian people, the builders of that prison cell have been dispersed as enemies of God, and its icy walls have vanished "as wax melts in the presence of fire". Even there, the suffering confessors sensed our prayers, our participation. It fills our soul with joy that Aleksandr Isaievich, who always zealously testified to the sufferings of Russia, was able to witness the gradual spiritual rebirth of our nation, which began twenty years ago, in the year marking the millennial anniversary of the conversion of Russia to Christianity.

For his testimony, for his active love for our traditions and the ideals of Old Russia, for his priceless contribution toward the preservation and increase of our rich Russian culture, which was nurtured by the spirituality of our God-bearing nation, for his service to God and neighbor, we believe that the Lord will bless Aleksandr Isaievich with everlasting rest and peace, and you, dear Natalia Dmitrievna, and your whole family, with help from above, good health and length of days.

May his memory be eternal, and his rest with the saints!

With love in the Lord,

+Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
4 August 2008