TO HIS HOLINESS THE PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA Kirill
YOUR HOLINESS! DEAR OUR PRIMATE AND FATHER! On this momentous and joyful day for all those who love you, on behalf of the clergy and flock of the Khanty–Mansiysk Metropolia, and the Philippine–Vietnamese Diocese entrusted to my care, accept sincere congratulations and heartfelt good wishes on the occasion of your 75th birthday. Your whole life is an amazing example of loyalty to God, the Church, fortitude of spirit, courageous standing for the Orthodox faith, convincing evidence of the all-conquering love of Christ, so visibly manifested in your whole appearance and sacrificial Primatial ministry. Your fatherly concern for the Russian Orthodox Church, for its many-million flock, is a special example of service for us. Your living word that leaves no one indifferent, your care and defense of church unity and canons, your sacrificial service – all this is at the “head of the corner” (Ps. 117:22) of your life. We often hear the words of an ancient preacher: “There is a time for every thing under heaven… a time to scatter stones, and a time to gather stones” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 5). The Lord has vouchsafed us to be witnesses and participants in the comprehensive revival of Orthodoxy under your wise Patriarchal leadership. New dioceses have been established, the episcopate of our Church has increased, new churches and monasteries have been opened, the missionary service of the Russian Orthodox Church is developing in distant countries – the Philippines and Vietnam and throughout its historical and canonical space. All this testifies to the mercy and help which the Lord pours out on your Primatial ministry.
Your Holiness! Let me sincerely wish you that the strength, the joy, the love that you give to all of us with your sacrificial and inspired service will increase a hundredfold in you, strengthening your patriarchal feat, possible only with the help and grace of God. Let me wish you that the Lord will strengthen you in health, salvation for the service of the Holy Church and keep you for many and good years.
With filial love for Christ,
Pavel, METROPOLITAN OF KHANTY-MANSIYSK AND SURGUT