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Toast
by His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France
Head of the Patriarchal Delegation
during the official Luncheon at the official hall of
Christ the Savior Church
Following the Divine Liturgy in Moscow

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Your Beatitude Patriarch Kiril of Moscow and All Russia,
Your Beatitudes the First-Hierarchs and representatives of sister Orthodox Churches,
Father and brothers,

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, together with the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, have commissioned us with the responsibility and task of the Patriarchal Delegation here, in the historical city of Moscow, in order to concelebrate with God’s people in this place an historical milestone, namely 1025 years since the Orthodox witness of the Kievan Rus and subsequently of Moscow as well as all of Russia and Ukraine.

This historical anniversary is crowned with mystery, ascetical struggle and martyrdom. The first mystery was the Divine Wisdom, which “built a house for itself” in this distant North; it is the same Divine Wisdom, whose glory the great Vladimir’s emissaries saw with their physical but primarily with their spiritual eyes in the magnificent homonymous Church in the city from which we hail, namely Constantinople. Another mystery and continuation of the grace of Divine Wisdom was the Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which sent to Kiev and Moscow many “apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, and ascetics,” who baptized, proclaimed and taught the orthodox faith, orthodox praxis, tradition, ethos and mindset of Orthodoxy.

Moreover, the ascetical struggle was realized by an entire host of persons ministering to the “sacred ethos,” which was grafted from Constantinople and cultivated, even increased through labor, sacrifice, vigil, suffering, truth and justice in order to deliver it no longer as a “remnant” or “small flock,” but rather as a “blossoming vine” as glorification and pleasing sacrifice for the Lord.

Finally, this anniversary also highlights martyrdom. This is not the appropriate moment to recall the martyrdom of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples during the last 1025 years. These have been ascribed to historical remembrance, which is shaped by human beings sometimes in accordance with individual interests and inevitably subjective judgment, but especially to the memory of Divine Wisdom. In the latter case, what is revealed is the grace and power of Divine Wisdom, which has constructed the Church.

Your Beatitude,

The Mother Church of Constantinople and its venerable First-Hierarch have sent us here to be beside you, with the entire Orthodox Church, so that with one mouth and one heart we may remember all that has been achieved by the good change of the Right hand of the Supreme God in the field of the Most Holy Church of Russia during the last millennium and beyond: To recall on the one hand the historical trials and martyrdoms, sometimes even their unknown outcome, the hopelessness, despair and “struggle to survive”; and on the other hand the grandeur, glorious culmination and triumph of the Orthodox faith. And so, around this sacred table of temporary food and drink, we recall the unknowable will of God and the results of all human plans.

St. Andrew of Crete assures us of the Lord’s will, which is unknown to us, and the “transformation” of human programs, when he writes in his hymns: “He who controls the ages was not unaware of the hour of our death when he foretold us to ignore that day; instead he placed limitations for all people in order to keep us humble.” (Compline Canon, Holy and Great Tuesday)

Therefore, in maintaining the limitations of “humility” at this historical day and hour, on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its First-Hierarch, we convey to Your venerable Beatitude Patriarch Kiril of Moscow and All Russia a greeting of love, honor and appreciation for your personal contemporary efforts toward renewal of mission and preaching in the Lord’s field here, which was assigned to you ecclesiastically, but also an honor, fond recollection and many blessings on the occasion of 1025 years of ministry, witness and martyrdom filled with mystery, struggle and sacrifice by the modern “miracle” of the Orthodox Rus.

With this greeting and recollection from Constantinople, the mother and sister Church, to whom all of us nearby and afar owe our understanding of the life in Christ, we respectfully salute you on behalf of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who was unable to attend in person but is present in spirit. And we wish Your Beatitude health and prosperity, together with your colleagues, as we offer glory with all those present and absent for those who have fallen asleep in the expectation of resurrection unto life eternal as well as for those who continue and preserve to this day the deposit of faith. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity in one Godhead, we cry out: Holy, holy, holy art thou, O Lord, Amen.