The Archpastoral Council urged the peoples of Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia to preserve their spiritual unity as it is rooted in the Orthodox faith. In the words of a report issued by the Council, now in session in Moscow, “The Baptismal Fount in the Dnepr was a common source of the spirituality, statehood, and Christian culture of our peoples. Our united Holy Russian motherland was born in it, and it gave birth to a shared and distinctive culture”. The Council participants noted that security of our homeland “repeatedly suffered heavy blows” over many centuries as “many parties attempted to destroy us or enrich themselves at the expense of our motherland, but, all these attempts failed because we received aid from Almighty God. Moreover, we now most solemnly declare that the unity of Holy Russia is the most precious possession of our church and peoples, it is our most cherished treasure, for it gives us the strength to overcome temptation and resist schism”.
The assembled bishops stated that the only way that Russian Orthodoxy can “contribute a unique and coherent testimony through its fidelity to the Orthodox spiritual tradition to the general European and world civilisations” is by maintaining the unity of the Church. The Council recognised the need to strengthen collaboration between the dioceses of Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia, “through the development of mutual contacts and encouraging pilgrimages between the different parts of the historical Russian state. In this instance, it is important to take into consideration various national and cultural differences, bearing in mind that the Church has always shown respect to legitimate local differences, which led to a strengthening of the Church, leading to its growth and unity”, the document said. The council also supported the proposal of Patriarch Aleksei to establish a podvorie (representation) of the Kievo-Percherskago Lavra (the oldest monastic house in Russia) in Moscow and a podvorie of Patriarch Aleksei in Kiev “in order to strengthen the connections between the two capitals of Russian Orthodoxy”.
27 June 2008