MOSCOW: September 13, 2009
Metropolitan Hilarion Officiates at Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral
From the Editors: On September 13, 2009, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion officiated at Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow along with His Eminence Archbishop Ilarion of Volokolamsk, President of the Department of External Church Relations, bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, clergymen of Moscow and delegates of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. After the service, in response to a greeting read by Archbishop Ilarion, the Primate of the Russian Church Abroad delivered a speech (below).That same day, His Eminence and the delegation of the Church Abroad visited Nikolo-Perervinsky Monastery, where they viewed its churches. A very warm and welcoming reception was given in honor of His Eminence’s visit organized by representatives of the city of Kursk in Moscow.
SPEECH OF THE FIRST HIERARCH OF THE RUSSIAN CHURCH ABROAD
following Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral
September 13, 2009
Your Eminence, beloved archpastors, pastors and flock of the Russian Orthodox Church:
By the will of the Omnipotent God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and also heeding the call of the Christian heart and in response to the loving invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I have now the new opportunity to visit the blessed land of Russia and venerate her great holy relics. This time, the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is accompanying a great holy icon—the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God.
Through centuries, through good years and the years of trouble, millions turned with faith to the Queen of Heaven through Her most-pure icon. The Kursk-Root Icon endured two Times of Trouble—the first under False Dimitry I, when in 1605 he entered Moscow with this icon, leading an armed force confessing an alien faith, attempting to appear Orthodox Christian in order to uproot Orthodoxy, and the second in 1917, when the Russian Orthodox Church and the faithful were subjected to great persecution.
The world today is undergoing a profound crisis of faith. We believe that the visit of this holy icon of the Most-Pure Mother of God will awaken the souls of many people, helping them make the choice to accept the most needful, that which is holy. We believe that it will help people accept the truth in the depths of their souls, where the heart speaks, and its call is reflected in our very being.
Faith shows mankind the path of life, it determines ones attitude towards itself, to people, to nature, to that which is holy in life, it helps overcome turmoil, and at the end of one’s life it poses the question of our earthly life: in what did we believe?
Blessed is the one within whose soul the path of faith is well-worn from early childhood and within whom is living unity with God, in the words of St Macarius the Great, becoming “all light, all eye, all spirit, all joy, all rest, all gladness, all love, all goodness,” and through rebirth of the soul whose external appearance is even transformed.
And may this icon of the Most-Holy Queen, our Mother of God, blessed by prayer and history, be the vessel of Her grace in our souls and the rock of our faith, wherever in the world we might be, since the Most-Blessed Virgin, by the presence of Her icon in almost every corner of the world, has spread Her reign upon the entire Russian Orthodox world even outside the borders of Holy Russia.
I express my profound gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, who blessed us to celebrate Divine Liturgy here, and to Your Eminence for your touching words addressed to me and my fellow travelers. With thankfulness I also address those who gathered under the vaulted ceilings of this magnificent temple and, through your presence, your earnest and fervent prayer, created a grand and festive atmosphere for the Most Reverend Archpastors, pastors and all the children of the Russian Orthodox Church, and I wish you all spiritual peace and joy for this visit of the Queen, our Mother of God, within Her Kursk-Root Icon. Amen.