His Holiness Kyrill
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
Moscow Patriarchate

Geneva, 28 January 2009

Your Holiness,
Axios !

With this joyful liturgical exclamation and deep fraternal sentiments we join the hierarchy, clergy and laity of the Russian Orthodox Church and the worldwide Orthodox Church in the congratulations of your election by the Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church as Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

We praise the pastor who faithfully served the people of God for many years and we pray for the newly elected Patriarch who will continue the work of his predecessor in equipping, renewing, strengthening and guiding the Russian Orthodox Church within a world in need of Christian witness and service.

We appreciate the outstanding Orthodox theologian, leader and hierarch and pray for your new and important role within the worldwide Orthodox Church as Head of one historical and widespread autocephalous Church whose spiritual, theological, cultural and human resources can enrich not only the Orthodox Church but the world Christianity.

We give thanks for your friendship and companionship in the area of inter-Christian relations and we pray that your commitment to the dialogue, deep knowledge of the present ecclesial and ecumenical developments and challenges, and critical, yet constructive attitude will strengthen the relationships between the divided churches and their common witness within a world in search of values.

We recognize the church leader who has played an important role in the realm of inter-religious dialogue and international relations, and we pray that the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church will continue to speak to the world openly and courageously, frankly and caringly, promoting and defending the human person, every human person, created in the image and likeness of God.

It will be a great honour for me to participate in your enthronement these coming days and represent the fellowship of the World Council of Churches. We are proud of our brother and friend. We are ready to continue to journey with him. We will receive with gratitude his support and his precious advice.

Yours in our common Lord Jesus Christ,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General secretary
World Council of Churches