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MOSCOW: July 1, 2011
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia sends greetings to the 12th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference 

From the Editors: During the opening ceremonies of the 12th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference, His Grace Bishop Ignaty of Bronnitsk, President of the Synod Department of Youth Ministry of the Russian Orthodox Church, read the following greeting from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia:

To His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the 
Participants of the 12
th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference 
(Paris, July 1-8, 2011)

Your Eminence, Honorable Archpastors and Pastors, Dear Brothers and Sisters:

I send my heartfelt greetings to all of you who have gathered during these summer months in Paris under the aegis of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, the Hodigitria of the Russian Diaspora.

Four years ago, a truly historic event took place which turned a new page in the life of Orthodox Christianity. After long years of division, the fullness of brotherly love and Eucharistic communion in one Local Church were restored. It is a joy that this All-Diaspora Conference, having gathered young Orthodox Christians from many countries of the world, also serves as a blessed echo of that momentous event.

Before the participants in this forum stands an unusually important and interesting challenge: to discuss new possible forms of missionary work among the youth. Under contemporary conditions, while preserving the many centuries of ecclesiastical experience and tradition, what are the most effective means for young people to carry forth the soul-saving message of the Gospel, how to persuasively witness to the world the unchanging spiritual and moral values?

The common principles of Orthodox Christian mission do not depend upon the age, nor the continent upon which they are manifested. One must remember that the development of youth ministry among those who belong to the Russian world bears importance, for the young people commune of the abundant wealth of our culture. This communion, however, must be manifested with an eye to local particularities, traditions and the national color of each concrete nation.

Devoting special attention to the education of youth “in the spirit and in truth” (John 4:23), tending to their moral maturation and strengthening in the faith, the Church must speak to young people in a language they understand, exploiting at the same time the latest achievements in information technology.

I hope that the socializing of Orthodox youth from various countries will enhance the beneficial development of Orthodox mission in the world.

I prayerfully wish the participants of the conference strength and aid from the Lord in the work they are undertaking. Let your efforts be inspired by the words of Holy Apostle Peter: “if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth” (1 Peter 4:11).

+KIRILL,  
PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA