At the reception that followed the Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral here on July 24, 2013—see related story—His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, joined the the Primates and delegations of the Local Orthodox Churches in offering greetings.
The text of Metropolitan Tikhon’s greetings reads as follows.
“It is with joy and gratitude that we have gathered at the invitation of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, to celebrate the 1025th Anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’. Orthodox Patriarchs and Church representatives are united here to bear witness to Christ and Christ’s Gospel and to manifest the unity of the Holy Orthodox Faith. As Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, I bring to you, the venerable Patriarchs and Primates and Representatives of the Orthodox Churches, the humble greeting of the youngest of the Orthodox Churches.
“We are undertaking a pilgrimage, beginning in Moscow and continuing in Kyiv and Minsk. In this pilgrimage we accompany the Cross of Saint Andrew, which has travelled from Greece to guide us in our journey. The Holy Apostle Andrew, brother of the Apostle Peter, in his preaching and martyria, is most especially present in Constantinople, as well as in Kyivan Rus’.
“Soon after the Baptism of Rus in 988, Churches of Hagia Sophia, the Holy Wisdom, are built in Kyiv and Polotsk and Novgorod. Today, these three cities are in the nations of Ukraine and Belarus and Russia. Thus, from the very beginning, is manifested the spiritual unity of the peoples who ‘put on Christ’ in the Kyivan baptismal font.
“The Orthodox faith was brought to North America in 1794 by missionary monks from Valaam Monastery. One of the monks was the humble Monk Herman, whose canonization in 1970 bears witness to the holiness and humility that are the foundations of mission and evangelization. In North America, the Orthodox are striving to be faithful to the Gospel and to the example given to us by Saint Herman of Alaska; by Saint Innocent (Veniaminov); the great missionary; and by Saint Tikhon, whom we remember in America as our Archbishop and whom we revere as the Patriarch and Confessor of Moscow.
“We strive to be faithful to the mission and martyria of the Holy Orthodox Churches around the world, always confessing our unity with them – our unity with you! At the same time, Orthodoxy in America has now its American identity. We believe and hope that this identity brings to the Orthodox mission of today an additional dimension of universality or catholicity. The Orthodox faith is not only for the East, it is also for the West. The Orthodox Church offers the Gospel not only to the peoples of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East, it offers the Gospel also to other peoples and cultures. In America, Orthodoxy is not merely a diaspora, it has the vocation to bring the apostolic faith to the pluralistic societies in which God has been pleased to place us.
“During the next days, traveling together as pilgrims, let us be renewed in the joy of Christ, in the wonder of what God has been able to accomplish in these lands over the past 25 years, and be illumined and inspired with the hope of the Paschal joy which we universally express in the words, “This is the day which the Lord has made – let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
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