On Friday, July 1, 2011, at the Concorde Lafayette Hotel in Paris, the ceremonious opening of the The 12th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference took place. His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle read a greeting from His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, to open the event, cited below.
Vladyka Theodosius welcomed the organizers and participants of the conference, stressing that “our youth deserves a great deal of attention, since they are called upon to find new paths for the spreading of the Gospel. Without them, we could not move forward in today’s world. This conference gives the participants the opportunity to speak in their own voice to the entire Church, to speak their “vonmem!” [let us pay heed]. We must take advantage of this and approach this responsibly. IF the young people unite and work to serve God and mankind together, then we Orthodox Christians will be able to achieve great things for the Church and for Orthodoxy.”
Upon the conclusion of the ceremony, great vigil was performed on the eve of the feast day of Russian diaspora.
We offer our readers, in addition to Metropolitan Hilarion’s address, photographs of this historic event:
HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN HILARION,
TO THE ORGANIZERS AND PARTICIPANTS OF THE
Your Eminences, Your Graces, Your Excellency, Reverend Fathers, brothers and sisters, dear friends and beloved youth:
It is with gratitude to God that I greet all you who have gathered here today to participate in the 12th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference in Paris. The long history of our All-Diaspora Conferences, in which young people from all the dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, began in 1973, when our youth came together in Montreal, Canada, presided over by Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) of blessed memory, who had devoted many years to ministering to the young generations, being the head of the Russian Orthodox Youth Committee of the Synod of Bishops.
The present conference is special in that organizing it were representatives of government, state and social organizations of the Russian Federation, as well as entrepreneurs.
This conference is unique, too, because youth and clergymen of the Exarchate of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe, headed by His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Koman, are taking part, too.
What is impossible for mortals is possible for God. That which we could at one time not organize and gather together for the common good, thank God, we now see happening, in that necessary synergy for the good of our beloved Orthodox Church.
I wish all the participants of this conference spiritually-beneficial and productive work. Let the fruits of this conference serve towards the good of our parishes, so that many could then deem that we are disciples of Christ, as we have love amongst ourselves and seek the unity of peace and love.
I thank His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia for his Primatial blessing for this conference, for his support and for his fatherly care for us all. I hasten to express my profound gratitude to Archbishop Gabriel, to His Grace Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe, to His Grace Bishop Nestor, who heads the Patriarchal parishes in Western Europe, and to His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, Vicar of the Western American Diocese, who represents my unworthiness at this forum.
I extend my genuine gratitude to the Fund of Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, the Russian-Mt Athos Society, the Fund for Assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the Benevolent Council of the Archangel Michael Church in Cannes and their presidents.
I also warmly thank Georgi Sergeevich Poltavchenko, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Central Federal Region and Aleksandr Konstantinovich Orlov, Russian Ambassador to France.
I thank, too, the organizing committee and Protopriest Andrei Sommer personally for his efforts in benefit of the youth of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Thank you all, participants, for your trust and for your love.
I invoke Divine blessings upon you all. May the Veil of the Queen of Heaven cover all of you.
With love in Christ,