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10 years of Patriarchal leadership celebrated in Moscow

10 years of Patriarchal leadership celebrated in Moscow

Patriarch Kirill at the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC

01 February 2019

Hundreds of high-ranking Russian orthodox clergy along with representatives of some other churches, government and state institutions gathered for a Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow on 1 February, celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Local Council and enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church.

When addressing the hierarchs and guests, Patriarch Kirill expressed his gratitude to God for this ministry, which he also described as a heavy cross. He preferred to look ahead, expecting more results from the instruments created in these years. By results Patriarch Kirill referred particularly to spiritual growth and the moral state of the society.

During the celebrations, there were presented figures of the development of the Russian Orthodox Church during these 10 years under Kirill’s patriarchal leadership: establishment of 150 new dioceses; opening of more than 9,000 new parishes; construction of numerous new churches. In Moscow alone it is planned to build more than 200 new churches with the support of local government and other donors - 60 of the churches have been built already and 28 are under construction.

There have also been many new initiatives developed for recruitment and education of clergy, resulting in a 25% increase in clergy. Engagement of the Russian Orthodox Church in social services has increased too, opening dozens of new shelters for homeless, crisis centres for families and providing food for those in need.

In addresses from both church and state representatives, there were several references to the mutually respected dialogue and unprecedented partnership that has been established between the state and Russian Orthodox church. This is particularly seen as a contrast to many years under the rule of the Soviet Union. The church has managed to secure teaching of religion in public schools – around 40% of children at schools now attend religion classes. The return of the the church’s real estate properties from the state also has been significant, as 10 years ago the majority of church buildings still were owned by the state.

Greeting the patriarch, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit pointed to His Holiness’ longstanding commitment to ecumenism, being actively involved in the work of the WCC for many years, and now also expressing his support for the work of the WCC. “Particularly as we see current difficulties in the Orthodox family, you need to re-commit to reconciliation and unity again and again. The WCC hopes for the reconciliation of the divide and we are many who pray for it, as it is crucially important not only for the unity within the Orthodox church family, but for the fellowship of all churches in the world”, the WCC general secretary said.

The Russian Orthodox Church has been a WCC member since 1961.

Russian Orthodox Church

WCC member churches in Russian Federation