International Orthodox Christian News

Patriarchal Locum Tenens, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, assisted by members the Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod and other archpators, celebrated the liturgy for the repose of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia on December 7 at his coffin in the Church of Christ the Savoiur.

During the night the flow of the faithful who came to part with the Primate of the Russian Church did not run out. Their line stretched out from the Church of Christ the Saviour for many hundreds of meters.

Among those who came to pay the last respect to His Holiness the Patriarch were also leaders and representatives of Muslim communities in Russia.

In his oration before the service for the dead began, Patriarch Locum Tenens Kirill, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, said, ‘The life of His Holiness the Patriarch was fully devoted to the service of the Church of Christ, and perhaps everyone who knew him is trying now again and again to perceive his way of thinking and his spirit and to become aware of his contribution to the history of our Church’.

His Eminence Kirill recalled the Reading of the Gospel and the Apostle for the day. Thus, a passage from the Gospel tells the story about the Saviour’s healing on a Saturday of a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years: she was bent over and could not straighten up. Indignant because Jesus healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, ‘There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.’ But the Lord condemned him for hypocrisy, saying ‘Should not this woman whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?’

Hypocrisy condemned by the Lord is a splitting of conscience when we are one in private and not the same before other people, Metropolitan Kirill reminded the congregation. ‘This inner splitting is extremely dangerous for one’ spiritual life, for it does not only create a dividing wall in our relations with people but also destroys one’s inner integrity’, he emphasized.

‘His Holiness the Patriarch was a man of integrity, the same inside and outside. And those who were close to him were well aware of it’, the Patriarchal Locum Tenens said, sharing his remembrance of the deceased Primate, adding, ‘He never played the hypocrite or offended anybody by rude words or sharp actions. At the same time, His Holiness Patriarch Alexy could clearly express his disagreement with people’s actions or agree with them and encourage them. He was the same with those who were close to him and with those who were far from him – equally tempered and natural. He was an example of how one’s inner life should be consonant with one’s external life’.

Addressing the words from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 4:5 ‘One Lord, one faith, one baptism’, which were read out during the service, Metropolitan Kirill stressed that the Letter speaks of church unity a symbol of which in the Russian Church was His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.

‘It is not accidental that during the first liturgy for the repose of his soul at the Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour, where our Primate lies in state on his Patriarchal throne, the Lord makes an appeal to us, archpastors, clergy and the people of God, through the fiery words of the apostle – a call to safeguard the unity of our Holy Church, the unity of entire Orthodoxy. This was a concern for the deceased Primate’, Metropolitan Kirill underscored, adding, ‘Standing at the coffin we hold so dear, we must be ready to respond to the call of the Saviour to preserve unity and fellowship, to defend our Church together, her being, beauty and power so that through them the beauty and power of God may be revealed’.

The Patriarchal Locum Tenens called upon the faithful to lift up prayers for the deceased Patriarch Alexy so that the Lord may give rest to his soul in His heavenly mansions, comfort the souls of his relatives and friends, those who grieved humanly, standing at his coffin. ‘I believe the Lord will deign to give us all His mercy as the deceased Primate asked him in his prayers’, Metropolitan Kirill said.

DECR Communication Service

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