2006-08-14 17:19:00

Letter of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia to Cuban President Fidel Castro on the occasion of his 80th birthday

Your Excellency,

I greet you with your 80th birthday and wholeheartedly congratulate you on this remarkable date. Your life has been inseparably linked with the destiny of your Motherland. You have become its leader many years ago and took responsibility before God for ordering Cuban society and the life of people. Your work in this noble field is well known in Russia. Christian spiritual experience testifies that service to God is performed through sincere ministry to the neighbours. St Paul writes about that, ‘Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ’ (Gal 6:2). I wish you the strength granted by God so that you could inspire people for solidarity in work and in life by your personal example.

The Russian Orthodox Church highly appreciates your personal attention to an Orthodox parish in Havana and the introduction of the Cubans to the Orthodox tradition that has inspired the Russian people for over one thousand years. Your personal signature on the document on the foundation of a new church in the historical part of the Cuban capital testifies to that. I am convinced that openness of the Cubans, whose ideals of life are rooted in Christian tradition, is an important manifestation of their fraternal attitude to the Orthodox believers of Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

I wish you and the Cuban people spiritual and bodily strength, prosperity and new achievements.

With deep respect,

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia