Christmas Message of Patriarch Kirill

to the Archpastors, Pastors, Deacons, Monastics
and All Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church

Beloved in the Lord archpastors, all-honourable presbyters and deacons,
God-loving monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters,

The unutterable love of God has gathered us today so that in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3) we may celebrate one of the most solemn and at the same time mysterious feasts of the Church – the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Glorifying our Saviour’s coming into the world, I extend my heartfelt congratulatios to all of you, my beloved, on the joyful event which opened a new era in the relationship between God and humanity.

Looking back at that moment two thousand years ago, we every time strive to fathom the great miracle of the Divine Incarnation, and our Creator’s loving-kindness and mercy never fails to amaze us. For many centuries, humanity had been living in tense expectation, awaiting the Peacemaker (cf. Gen 49:10) promised by the Lord, which is to say a King… just and having salvation (Zech 9:9), in Whose name nations will hope (Is 42:4). Thus, in the fullness of time unto us a Child was born (Is 9:6) that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (Jn 3:16). The love of God which passes knowledge (Eph 3:19) sent into the world not an ambassador or an angel, or the strong and mighty ruler tha people had been expecting, but God Himself Who took flesh in order to deliver humankind from the bondage of sin and evil.

It is astounding that the greatest milestone event in human history, heralded by the Old Testament prophets and foreknown by prominent thinkers of antiquity, came to pass so quietly, seemingly unnoticeable. Bethlehem lay sleeping. Jerusalem lay sleeping. The whole of Judaea lay sleeping. Neither to the powerful sound of the trumpet (Ps 150:3), nor to worldwide jubilation, but humbly and meekly did the Almighty Lord – the King of kings and the Lord and Creator of all things – reveal Himself to the world in the nightly silence of a poor cave, glorified by the angelic hosts and a small number of shepherds who came to see this thing that has come to pass (Lk 2:15).

It is as if at the very start of His earthly journey the Lord desires total humiliation [to become] the measure of His Goodness, St John Chrysostom writes. Only love which is perfect can act with such nobleness, for it does not seek its own (1 Cor 13:4-5), nor does it parade itself or demand honour and glory. Perfect love endures all things, every hardship and affliction for the sake of others. For this He assumed my body, John Chrysostom continues, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life (The Nativity Sermon). God’s abundant love for us was revealed in that we received the true treasure of Life – the Lord Himself, for of Him and through Him and to Him are all things (Rom 11:36).

Love is the real reason and driving force behind God’s actions. He brought the world into being and created the human person, giving him gifts in plenty. And out of love He came to save the human person when he had fallen away from communion with his Maker. Our Creator ordained that the purpose of our life is to love one another (Jn 13:34). But how can we achieve this when the world around us is so full of evil and hatred? To do so, we need to open our heart and offer it to God. He alone can transform it and make our heart, weak and constrained as it is, capable of embracing all those who are near or far off, all those who do us good or wrong. We are called to love them all, as Christ’s commandment teaches us, and be perfect, just as our Father in heaven is perfect (Mt 5:48).

As we kneel in prayer before the Newborn Divine Infant, let us ponder on what gifts we can offer to the Lord and Creator of all things. Is there anything worthy of and commensurate with the greatness of the Pre-Eternal Maker? Yes, there is such a precious gift which is most desirable in God’s eyes – it is our humble, loving and merciful heart. So let us magnify the Incarnate Christ not only with beautiful hymns and words of congratulation but above all with our good works. Let us share the radiant Christmas joy with those in need, comfort our neighbours by our loving care, visit the sick and afflicted. Let us console and support people who have lost heart and shield with our prayer all those in turmoil and grief.

By its great salvific power love heals all indifference and malice, heals enmity and grievance. It assuages the hard-hearted and makes straight the many things that have gone awry in social relations. By doing so we will indeed fulfil our lofty vocation as Christians, for in effusion of love we resemble God (Isaac of Nineveh, Mystic Treatises, Chapter 74).

The mystery of the Divine Incarnation is the mystery of God’s real presence in the world. The Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian bears the following witness to the life of the world to come when the Lord abides forever with humankind: He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God (Rev 21:3). However, the ineffable mystery of the Divine presence is revealed here, on earth, for with the Nativity of the Saviour the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand (Mk 1:15). We become a visible part of this reality, making up the One Holy Church of Christ, through which we all, my beloved, serve as messengers and envoys of this Higher Kingdom of love. In some mysterious and profound way, we experience that God is with us, and this experience constitutes the very essence of the hidden mystical life of the Church.

Let us always remember that inasmuch as the Almighty God Himself – the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (Rev 22:13) – embraced the history of humanity and promised to be with us even unto the end of the world (Mt 28:20), we have nothing to fear eve though we live in anxious times. In responding to the great love of our Saviour, let us learn to entrust our whole self to the Lord and His good Providence, so that unto the second glorious coming of Christ we may bear bold and joyful witness even to those from far countries (Is 8:9) that

God is with us!

+KIRILL
PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUS’

Christmas
2023/2024
Moscow

Congratulations to the Most Holy Patriarch

YOUR HOLINESS!
DEAR PRIMATE AND FATHER!
On behalf of the clergy and flock of the Khanty-Mansi Metropolia, and the Philippine–Vietnamese Diocese entrusted to my care, please accept sincere congratulations and heartfelt good wishes on the occasion of your Birthday.
You were born in the pious family of the ever-memorable Archpriest Michael and the handmaid of God Raisa in Leningrad city, and you have loved the splendor of the temple of God and the beauty of Orthodox worship since childhood. Seeing your fervent faith and sincere desire to serve the Church, the Lord brought you to the Spiritual school of the Northern Capital of Russia where, under the wise guidance of the great hierarch of the Church, the ever-memorable Metropolitan Nicodemus, you took monastic vows and holy orders. And for more than fifty years you have been standing before the Holy See, offering a Bloodless Sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Giver of all good things, to God.
You began serving God and people at a time when the Russian Orthodox Church was carrying out its saving mission in difficult historical conditions. But the Lord gave you wisdom, courage and strength to worthily follow the difficult path of serving the Church.
Your Holiness! Now, with a sense of great responsibility, you are fulfilling the hard-working ministry of the Primate, to which the Lord has appointed you. By performing the Primatial ministry with great love and zeal, sparing no physical effort, you convincingly testify to all of us about the eternal Gospel truths, about the power and triumph of Orthodoxy, about the need to strengthen Orthodox unity. Your voice constantly calls people to live according to the commandments of Christ the Savior, to live and active faith, unshakable hope and sincere love.
Your Holiness! On this memorable day for you, we prayerfully wish you mental and physical strength, for the Patriarchal feat is possible only with the help and grace of God, for the benefit of the Holy Church and the people of God.
Through the intercession of the Queen of Heaven, may the All-merciful Lord keep you in health and prosperity for many and good years!

With filial love for Christ,
Pavel
METROPOLITAN OF MANILA AND HANOI

Metropolitan Pavel co-served to Patriarchal Exarch

On August 18, 2023, Patriarchal Exarch of Southeast Asia, Metropolitan Sergiy of Singapore and Southeast Asia, and Metropolitan Pavel of Khanty-Mansi and Surgut, administrator of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, held an all-night vigil on the eve of the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ in the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in Ostankino. The bishops were served by the clergy of the church of the Life-Giving Trinity.

Metropolitan Pavel co-served to Patriarch Kirill

On August 19, 2023, on the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.
Upon arrival at the Cathedral, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church bowed to the venerable relics of St. Filaret, Metropolitan of Moscow.
During the Liturgy, His Holiness was co-served by: Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Pavel of Khanty-Mansi and Surgut; Archbishop Thomas of Odintsovo and Krasnogorsk, Head of the Administrative Secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate; Bishop Konstantin of Zaraisk; Archpriest Mikhail Ryazantsev, key keeper of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior; Archimandrite Alexy (Turikov), personal secretary of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill; Priest Alexander Paramonov, cleric of the Sydney and Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad; clergy of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior; metropolitan clergy.
The church was attended by: Director General of PJSC Surgutneftegaz V.L. Bogdanov, First Deputy Director General of JSC “Russian Railways” V.V. Mikhailov, First Deputy Head of the Corporate Communications Department of JSC “Russian Railways” A.V. Gut, Head of the Secretariat of the World Russian People’s Cathedral S.Y. Rudov.
The liturgical hymns were performed by the Patriarchal Choir of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (regent — I.B. Tolkachev).
On the Soyuz, Spas TV channels, as well as on the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church Патриархия.ru a live broadcast of the Patriarchal Divine Service was carried out.
At a special litany, special petitions were made for Holy Russia.
The sermon before communion was delivered by Priest Maxim Romanov, a cleric of the Church of the Nativity of John the Baptist in Presnya, Moscow.
According to tradition, on the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill consecrated the fruits of the new harvest.
Then the Primate of the Russian Church addressed the faithful with the Primatial Word.
In consideration of the assistance of the Russian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill awarded the Director General of PJSC Surgutneftegaz V.L. Bogdanov with the Order of St. Andrew the First Called of the first degree.

Metropolitan Pavel awarded the gold medal

Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi was awarded the gold medal of the Russian Academy of Engineering. According to the minutes of the meeting of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Engineering, it was decided to award the gold medal of the Russian Academy of Engineering to Metropolitan Pavel of Khanty-Mansiysk and Surgut, the administrator of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, for his great contribution to church-building in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra and for the development of church-building in the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese.

During the ministry of Metropolitan Pavel, 65 churches were built in the Khanty-Mansiysk diocese, 45 more churches and chapels are under construction. The award ceremony in Moscow, in the building of the Russian Engineering Academy, was attended by: Vice-President of the Russian Engineering Academy, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, Honored Builder of the Russian Federation, Honored Engineer of Russia, Laureate of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Baksheev, Chief Scientific Secretary, Vice-President of the Russian Engineering Academy, laureate of the Government of the Russian Federation Leonid Ivanov, President of the International Academic Vegetation and Certification Committee, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor Tatiana Sergeeva.

Митрополит Павел принимает участие в Архиерейском Совещании

19 июля 2023 года в Свято-Троицкой Сергиевой лавре Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл возглавил Архиерейское Совещание Русской Православной Церкви. Архиерейское Совещание созвано в соответствии с принятым Священным Синодом Русской Православной Церкви 29 декабря решением (журнал № 121): «Для братского обсуждения текущих вопросов церковной жизни созвать на 19 июля 2023 года Архиерейское Совещание в составе всех епархиальных и викарных архиереев епархий на территории России — в обязательном порядке, а также архиереев епархий в других странах — в зависимости от возможности прибыть в Москву». Перед началом Архиерейского Совещания Святейший Патриарх Кирилл посетил Троицкий собор, где поклонился честным мощам преподобного Сергия Радонежского. Святейший Владыка также поклонился святыням Никоновского придела и Серапионовой палаты. Затем в Большом актовом зале Московской духовной академии началась работа Архиерейского Совещания. В президиуме заседания присутствуют: митрополит Ювеналий (Поярков); митрополит Астанайский и Казахстанский Александр, глава Митрополичьего округа в Республике Казахстан; митрополит Ташкентский и Узбекистанский Викентий, глава Среднеазиатского митрополичьего округа; митрополит Санкт-Петербургский и Ладожский Варсонофий; митрополит Крутицкий и Коломенский Павел, Патриарший наместник Московской митрополии; митрополит Минский и Заславский Вениамин, Патриарший экзарх всея Беларуси; митрополит Воскресенский Дионисий, управляющий делами Московской Патриархии; митрополит Волоколамский Антоний, председатель Отдела внешних церковных связей.

На Совещании также присутствуют: представитель Патриарха Антиохийского и всего Востока при Патриархе Московском и всея Руси митрополит Филиппопольский Нифон; представитель Патриарха Сербского при Патриархе Московском и всея Руси епископ Моравичский Антоний; представитель Православной Церкви Чешских земель и Словакии при Московском Патриаршем престоле архимандрит Серафим (Шемятовский); представитель Православной Церкви в Америке при Московском Патриаршем престоле протоиерей Даниил Андреюк.Участие в мероприятии принимают епархиальные и викарные архиереи Русской Церкви. В числе участников митрополит Ханты-Мансийский и Сургутский Павел.Предстоятель Русской Православной Церкви произнес вступительное слово, в котором приветствовал собравшихся и представил следующую повестку дня Архиерейского Совещания: 1. Доклад Патриарха Московского и всея Руси. Дискуссия по докладу, обсуждение текущих вопросов церковной жизни. 2. Доклад председателя Синодальной библейско-богословской комиссии митрополита Венгерского и Будапештского Илариона о подготовке Комиссией документа «Об искажении православного учения о Церкви в деяниях Константинопольского Патриархата и выступлениях его представителей». Обсуждение документа. 3. Доклад руководителя Правового управления Московской Патриархии игумении Ксении (Чернеги) об изменениях в светском законодательстве. 4. Обсуждение и принятие итогового документа Архиерейского Совещания (докладчик: управляющий делами Московской Патриархии митрополит Воскресенский Дионисий). Далее Святейший Патриарх Кирилл представил основной доклад.

Metropolitan Pavel co-served to His Holiness on the feast of St Sergius

On July 18, 2023, the day of the feast of the finding of the venerable relics of St. Sergius, Abbot of Radonezh (1422), His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the Cathedral Square of the Holy Trinity Sergius Lavra. The solemn divine service was performed in front of the venerated icon of St. Sergius of Radonezh. For the celebration of the All—night vigil and the Divine Liturgy, a platform was erected on Cathedral Square, and a throne under the shade in front of the Assumption Cathedral of the Lavra. His Holiness was co-served by the Council of hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. Among the archpastors was Metropolitan Pavel of Khanty-Mansiysk and Surgut. His Holiness was co-served at the Liturgy by: Metropolitan Juvenal (Poyarkov); Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, Head of the Central Asian Metropolitan District; Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga; Metropolitan Dionysius of the Resurrection, managing the affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate, First Vicar of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia in Moscow; Bishop Thomas of Sergiev Posad and Dmitrov, Vicar Lavra; Bishop Kirill of Zvenigorod, Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy; Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Feast of St Sergius

Bishops of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia take part in the celebrations at the Holy Trinity Sergius Lavra

On July 17, 2023, on the eve of the feast of the finding of the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh (1422), His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia held an All-Night Vigil on the Cathedral Square of the Holy Trinity Sergius Lavra.

The solemn divine service was performed in front of the venerated icon of St. Sergius.

His Holiness was co-served by bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church who arrived at the Lavra, among whom were: Patriarchal Exarch of Southeast Asia, Metropolitan Sergius of Singapore and Southeast Asia; Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi. Archbishop Theophan of Korea and Bishop Pitirim of Jakarta, Vicar of the Diocese of Singapore, also prayed at the service.