10 July 2006, 15:52
Message of Patriarch Alexy II to Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine on the 40th anniversary of his episcopal consecration
Your Beatitude, Dear Metropolitan Beloved in the Lord,
On this auspicious day of the 40th anniversary of your episcopal consecration, I cordially greet you and wholeheartedly congratulate you on this remarkable date.
Forty years ago, the Monastery of the Holy Trinity witnessed your personal Pentecost, when through the prayers of the Church and the laying of bishops’ hands, the grace of apostolic ministry came down on you. All these years you have warmed up this priceless gift given by Chief Pastor Jesus Christ to His elected servants by your prayer and zealous work in the church field, ‘never flagging in zeal, being aglow with the Spirit’ (Rom. 12:11).
For the long time of your Episcopal ministry, the Lord has ordained you to show your gifts in various fields of church work, such as representing Orthodoxy in the non-Orthodox world, doing administrative work, ruling a diocese, leading theological schools, nourishing Moscow Patriarchate parishes in other countries, working as Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate and permanent member of Holy Synod, and finally, leading the millions-strong flock of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Carrying out all these tasks, you have invariably fulfilled the commandment given to you on the day of your episcopal consecration: ‘A bishop is called to be for his flock, according to the Apostle ‘an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity’.
Being rector of the Moscow Theological Seminary and Academy, you by your own example taught future pastors to be faithful and selflessly committed to the Mother Church. During those years in that field, you left a deep imprint on the history of Moscow theological schools. Despite the hard conditions imposed by state atheism, you helped to train a new generation of teachers to replace the generation of pre-revolutionary professors, to develop theology and to cultivate thousands of good workers in the field of Christ.
When in the time of trouble and church disorder, the Ukraine bishops gathered together to elect a primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the conciliar wisdom and the Holy Spirit pointed at you as the worthiest candidate to this high post. You accepted that lot with humbleness and have carried this heavy cross for 15 years now, showing to the Ukrainian Orthodox flock ‘the rule of faith and the image of humbleness’. The high moral and spiritual authority you enjoy both in Ukraine and far beyond her borders, your love and good attitude to people have rallied the people of God around you and given them strength to resist the temptation of schism and strengthened them in their commitment to canonical Orthodoxy.
Congratulating you, Dear Vladyko, on the glorious anniversary, we wish you good health, long life and God’s inexhaustible help in your primatial ministry. May the All-Merciful Lord through in the intercession of the Heavenly Queen grant you spiritual and physical strength to continue you zealous and fruitful archpastoral ministry for the good of the Holy Church.
With love in the Lord,
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia