Rav Berel Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Russia
Rav Berel Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Russia, said that the death of Metropolitan Laurus, Archbishop of New York and Eastern America, is a great loss not only to Orthodox Christians, but also to all believers. “Our country is unique, as people of various religions have lived in friendship and accord for centuries. The joy of other traditional confessions is our joy, and their sorrow is our sorrow. Metropolitan Laurus was an authoritative cleric, who actively sought responses to the 21st century challenges to the flock of his church”, said a message of condolences the chief rabbi sent to Patriarch Aleksei Rediger of Moscow and all the Russias. Interfax-Religion received a copy of the message.
The Russian Jewish community “watched with great respect the efforts of Metropolitan Laurus to strengthen relations between Orthodox Christians”, Rav Lazar noted. “We saw the good fruit that his activity bore for all of us in our multinational and multiconfessional Russian motherland. It contributed to a greater mutual understanding between our peoples, a greater openness of our country to the outside world, and, at the same time, it showed all of us that believing people are capable of solving problems in a positive spirit, on the basis of love for neighbour”, he wrote. Rav Lazar expressed confidence in the fact that Metropolitan Laurus devoted his life “to the awakening of spirituality in the life of mankind and restoring unity in the life of our religious communities, and this effort shall not disappear fruitlessly, but, it shall be further developed”.
Mufti Ravil Gainutdin (1959- ), Chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis
The Russian Council of Muftis also sent its condolences to the Holy Synod, clergy, and faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). “The vigorous efforts of Vladyki Laurus helped to restore the canonical unity of the Orthodox Church in the motherland and abroad that was broken after the Red victory in the Civil War”, according to a statement of the Council of Muftis posted on its official website on Monday. “Metropolitan Laurus shall go into history as a great leader of the ROCOR, for he restored the unity of its flock with the Russian Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Laurus did much for the unity of Orthodox believers, and all people, including the followers of Islam, shall remember him as a constructive and creative figure”.
17 March 2008