05 December 2016, 10:01
Patriarch Kirill calls on compatriots abroad not to cut spiritual, cultural ties with motherland
Paris, December 5, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia urged fellow Russians living abroad to preserve the spiritual link with their motherland, the Russian language and culture after he held an all-night vigil at an old Russian Church of Three Saints in Petel Street in Paris.
"Hopefully, with God's will, all Russian orthodox people who today, being abroad, consider themselves religious and go to the church, have this example of the old emigres before them and by no means allow their children to lose the language and the culture. This is your duty. You may live where you please but you cannot severe the spiritual and cultural ties with your people. This is very dangerous for the integrity of man, for his cultural identity," the Russian Orthodox Church leader said.
"So may God help you all preserve your faith, the Russian culture, the Russian language, go to churches and do good deeds to which God exhorted us," the patriarch said.
The image and story of the modest Russian Church of Three Saints in Petel Street, which started as a garage in the 1930s, will never be overshadowed, he said.
"Keep your Orthodox faith in your hearts, as did the first generations of the Russian emigres who lived in poverty, grief, but kept, selflessly, not just their faith but also the culture, the language. Sometimes I am amazed at how young people nowadays, after arriving to a foreign country and barely knowing the local language, start speaking Russian with an accent, with foreign intonations," the patriarch said.
"How remarkably the old emigres and their children spoke Russian! They truly were - in the good, brilliant sense of this word - the patriots who preserved love for their country, for the Church, for their people, and preserved the remarkable Russian culture," he said.
The community and the church in honor of three saints - Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom - was founded in 1931 by the Russian emigres led by Bishop Benjamin (Fedchenkov). They remained faithful to the Moscow Patriarchate after most Russian parishes led by Metropolitan Eulogius (Georgiyevsky) moved into the care of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1930.
Initially the church was housed in a rented underground repair garage. Among its parishioners were prominent Russian emigres such as young Vladimir Lossky and the future famous preacher of the Orthodox Christianity in Europe, Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh (Great Britain). In 1960, with the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church's Korsun Diocese, the Church of Three Saints gained the cathedral status and moved up to the ground floor of a newly-built house (on the condition that no religious sign would be displayed on the exterior).