International Orthodox Christian News

Benedict XVI sends condolences over Patriarch Alexy II's death

Vatican, December 5, Interfax - Pope Benedict XVI has forwarded condolences to the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church over the death of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.

"I was profoundly saddened to receive news of the death of His Holiness Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and with fraternal affection I wish to convey to the Holy Synod and to all the Members of the Russian Orthodox Church my most sincere condolences," the Pope said in a letter on Friday.

"In my prayer I beseech the Lord to welcome into his Kingdom of eternal peace and joy this tireless servant and to grant consolation and comfort to all those who mourn his passing," he said. Benedict XVI extolled Alexy II's commitment to the idea of mutual understanding and cooperation between the Orthodox and the Catholics and his efforts "for the rebirth of the Church, after the severe ideological oppression which led to the martyrdom of so many witnesses to the Christian faith."

"I also recall his courageous battle for the defense of human and Gospel values, especially in the European Continent, and I trust that his commitment will bear fruit in peace and genuine progress, human, social and spiritual," the Pope said. Benedict XVI suggested that "at this sad time of loss," memory of Alexy II "be a support for those who are now in sorrow and an encouragement for those who will benefit from his spiritual legacy as leader of the venerable Russian Orthodox Church."


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