Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, to the Participants of the 100th-Anniversary Celebrations

Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, to the Participants of the 100th-Anniversary Celebrations Organized by the “Two-Headed Eagle” Society

Your Grace,
Honorable Fathers, Beloved in the Lord Brothers and Sisters, Dear Young and Talented Singers of the Men’s Choir of the Australia and New Zealand Diocese:

I send my heartfelt greetings to you all, the organizers and participants of this festive occasion, on this feast day of St Olga, Equal-to-the-Apostles, even now “shining as the moon in the night,” as the Church properly praises her, on this 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which always confessed herself as an indissoluble part of the historic Russian Orthodox Church, which nourished and reared the Russian nation and created its great sovereignty!

Due to the restrictions stemming from the coronavirus infection, today’s event is being held on a modest level. Russian Orthodox Christians likewise found themselves in extraordinary circumstances in 1920 as they emigrated. What were the leaders of the Russian Church then supposed to do in such complicated circumstances? Merge with other Local Churches? But those Churches lived their own lives, their own joys, concerns and problems.

Meanwhile, Russian emigres still lived with the hope for the renascence of the Faith of Christ and the Fatherland, carefully preserving the treasured legacy of the Russian Church: churches and holy sites belonging to the Mother Church during Imperial times found in other countries. Lovingly tending to them, they also built magnificent churches, monasteries, holy places and schools, sacrificing their last pennies to this God-pleasing effort. They preserved the customs, traditions and piety of their forebears, rearing succeeding generations in the spirit of the Russian Church. They lovingly, attentively and very devotedly followed the life of the Church in the Homeland and reverently bowed before the podvig and memory of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors, tirelessly declaring their spiritual efforts in foreign and heterodox spheres, trying to arouse their conscience. All of this was well understood by the Primates of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which took under her truly fraternal auspices the Hierarchy of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration Abroad, which was recast as the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

In connection with this, I fondly remember the words spoken by the confessor of our times, Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral at the 4th All-Diaspora Council held in San Francisco: “We share common fathers and teachers.”

Today we thankfully and prayerfully honor all those who struggled and held high our Holy Russian banners in foreign lands, not submitting to the waves of modernism and reformism which so powerful everywhere, inspiring not only us sinners to strive harder, but also the newly-arrived emigres and the multitude of local peoples of the lands where our Church exists. May the Lord continue to help us, may we follow the example of our predecessors and continue to bear witness to the ideals of Holy Rus, preserve and increase her richest legacy! Amen.

Asking your holy prayers, I remain with love in the Lord,

+HILARION,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.