Letter from the Patriarch of Moscow on the occasion of the centenary of the Archdiocese
Prot.: N° 01/3699
I congratulate You, the clergy, monastics and laity of the Archdiocese of the parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe, on its 100th anniversary.
The social upheavals that befell Russia at the beginning of the 20th century forced millions of our compatriots to seek refuge in other lands, including Western Europe. Being in a foreign land, in labours and hardships, our people carefully preserved the Orthodox faith, drew spiritual strength and consolation from it, knowing that the hope that comes from the experience of enduring sorrows does not put us to shame. (Rom. 5:4).
Life in a different cultural environment encouraged Russian people to take a fresh look at the rich paternal heritage and helped to discover in it previously unknown profound meanings. Thus, one of the most striking spiritual and cultural phenomena of those years in Europe was the activity of the Paris theological school, which influenced the minds of contemporaries and the development of Orthodox Church science in general.
Testifying to the Western world of the true beauty of the Eastern Christian tradition, Russian émigrés founded parish communities, built churches and established theological schools, Orthodox brotherhoods and sisterhoods. This was the beginning of the structure, headed by Metropolitan Euloge of eternal memory, a structure that would eventually grow into the Archdiocese. Over the past century, the Archdiocese parishes in Western Europe has encountered a hard path. However, the consciousness of responsibility for the preservation and development of the Russian spiritual and cultural tradition remained the key to the long-awaited reunion with the Russian Mother-Church, which took place in good time.
I wish you all strength of soul and body and God’s help in Your work.
With love in the Lord,
+ Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
Letter of the Patriarch in Russian in PDF