Moscow, June 8, 2015
On June 7, 2015, the Day of All Saints, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), led the parishioners of the church of All Saint-at-Kulishki, the Moscow Representation of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, in celebrating the Divine Liturgy.
The liturgy was celebrated in Greek and Church Slavonic.
After the liturgy the DECR chairman was greeted by Metropolitan Athanasios of Kyrenia, rector of the Representation, who said in particular, ‘The fact that you have accepted our invitation and our common celebration of the great Sacrament do not just point out the good relations between the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Moscow but, more important, make it visible that the holy Churches of God are bound up by inseparable unity, comprising One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’.
In his response, Metropolitan Hilarion spoke about the Day of All Saints as a feast commemorating hundreds of thousands of people who, following Christ, took the path of sanctity. The Lord Jesus Christ, he said, came out against the understanding of sanctity as one’s isolation from society and the need to observe a whole bulk of prescriptions and statutes. The Lord told very simple things to people: ‘the kingdom of God is within you’, and the spiritual struggle for sanctity is waged within a person.
Speaking about martyrs and confessors who followed Christ on the way to sanctity in times of persecution against the Church, Metropolitan Hilarion pointed to the fact that the Church has again become persecuted today in the Middle East, where Christianity was born and in North Africa, where Christians have become a persecuted minority. ‘We pray every day that the Lord may give us peaceful times. We pray for all Local Orthodox Churches and especially for such old Patriarchates as that of Alexandria founded by St. Mark, asking the Lord that He may preserve and multiply Christian faith in the countries in which it is subjected to oppression and persecution today’.
Addressing Metropolitan Athanasios, His Eminence Hilarion thanked him for the opportunity to celebrate together and to pray for His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Theodore, saying, ‘
We know and love him. He used to serve in Odessa as representative of the Patriarch of Alexandria to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. He has covered a long and difficult path and founded a great number of church communities in various African countries… I rejoice in the fact that the spiritual ties between our two Churches are developing and strengthening today including through your efforts’.