H.E. Metropolitan Kyrill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad
Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations
Russian Orthodox Church
(Moscow Patriarchate)

Geneva, 5 December 2008

Your Eminence,

"Among the spirits of the righteous perfected in faith, give rest, O Saviour, to the soul of Your servant Patriarch Alexy. Bestow upon it the blessed life which is from You, O loving Lord"
(Hymn from the Orthodox Memorial Service).

Meeting in Geneva for our regular encounter, we received the sad news of the passing away of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Alexy II.

On behalf of the fellowship of the WCC, in deep sadness we join our voices to those of the Russian and worldwide Orthodox faithful and pray, together with them, for Patriarch Alexy II of blessed memory.

The Russian Orthodox Church has lost today her Patriarch, her first Bishop, her spiritual father who guided the Church in difficult times and through difficult circumstances. The Orthodox Church has lost today a Primate, a leading hierarch in contemporary Orthodox history, a church leader respected by many for his genuine commitment to his church and people, for his pastoral sensitivity, for his courageous stand facing the many challenges of the world. The WCC and the ecumenical movement have lost today a leading figure, a powerful voice that knew how and when to be supportive and constructive but also how and when to be vigilant and critical.

May God, the God of resurrection and life, give rest to Patriarch Alexy of blessed memory.

While participating in the mourning of the Russian Orthodox Church, we give thanks for all the abundant blessing the late Patriarch Alexy II received by the Almighty God during his long period of diakonia to the church. He guided the Russian Orthodox Church moving out of the atheist regime. He led the Russian Orthodox Church through a long, patient and important reconstruction process during which the members of the clergy, parishes, monasteries, seminars and other institutions serving the church and her people were multiplied with a spectacular speed. He also saw the fruits of his efforts to bring reconciliation with the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia.

For all these we give thanks to God and we are confident that Patriarch Alexy II will be remembered with gratitude.

May his memory be eternal!

The Officers of the World Council of Churches:

Rev. Dr Walter Altmann, moderator

Metr. Prof. Gennadios of Sassima, vice-moderator

Rev. Dr Margaretha Hendriks-Ririmasse, vice-moderator

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, general secretary