On Dormition Day Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Land and Slovakia celebrate Divine Liturgy at Kremlin Cathedral of the Dormition

Source: DECR Communication Service

August 28, 2016

On August 28, 2016, the Day of the Dormition, His Holiness
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russian and His
Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and
Slovakia celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarch
Cathedral of the Dormition in the Moscow Kremlin.

Metropolitan Rostislav came to Russia on August 26 for an
official visit, leading a delegation of the Orthodox
Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.

His Holiness and His Beatitude were assisted by a great
assembly of concelebrants. Along with Russian Orthodox
Church hierarchs, high officials, Moscow deans and clergy,
there were Metropolitan Kallistos of Deokleia
(Patriarchate of Constantinople), Archbishop Michael of
Prague and the Czech Lands, Archimandrite Seraphim
(Shemyatovsky), representative of the Orthodox Church of
the Czech Lands and Slovakia to the Patriarch of Moscow
and All Russia, Archpriest Nikolay Lischenyuk, ROC
representative to the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands
and Slovakia. Present were also high-ranking governmental
officials and State Duma deputies, as well as prominent
cultural figures.

After the Prayer of Fervent Supplication, Patriarch Kirill
lifted up a prayer for peace in Ukraine.

The liturgy was broadcast live by Soyuz TV network.

After the service Patriarch Kirill addressed the
congregation. Speaking on the significance of the Feast of
the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God, he stressed
its close relation to Holy Pascha. ‘It is not
accidental that pious people call the Dormition the Pascha
of the Mother of God, because we celebrate today the
ascension of the Most Holy Mother of God in her body to
heaven, the elevation of her human nature into divine
life… After her death she became alive by the power
of God’s grace and now dwells in the mansions of Her
Son and our God’.

Speaking about the situation in the world today, His
Holiness said, ‘We are living at a difficult time
when Christians in many countries are oppressed; moreover,
in some states the very faith in Christ Crucified and
Risen is persecuted and the faithfulness to Christian
beliefs is even punished by death. Along with direct
persecution against the Church and Christians, there are
other dangerous forms of struggle with the divine
principle in our life. In many countries the God-given
human morality is being destroyed, with people rejecting
any commitments before the Lord and proclaiming their full
autonomy from Him and as much as denying His existence.
Today’s society is affected by a deep moral crisis,
which was predicted by the Saviour who said, Because
of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow
cold
(Mt. 24:12). By these words He proclaimed a very
important relation between people’s faith, their
devotion and reverence before God, and love. Love is a
gift of God, because God Himself is love, and love cannot
emerge in a human heart without God’s participation.
When one feels a strong love in one’s heart, one
should remember that at this moment the Lord has touched
him placing on him an enormous responsibility to dispose
of the great gift of love in a proper way. That is why our
battle today, our struggle for the preservation of the
moral principle in human life, for the preservation of
faith in human hearts is, in some sense, the struggle to
make love present in human life and through love to have
what we describe by the simple word
‘happiness’. The Church has no other goals, no
other tasks except for fostering faith in people’s
hearts, their devotion, and through this, their ability to
love others.

‘Our witness before those who are external is
effective only when we ourselves have love between
ourselves, when we are united. For this reason, we should
by all means strengthen the unity of Holy Orthodoxy, Holy
Orthodox Churches of God. The life of peoples spiritually
nourished by Local Churches varies very much, for in the
world there are many different cultures and Churches live
in different political, social and economic situations.
All this leaves a stamp on people’s outlook, on
their stand in life, and the contradictions of
today’s world, whether we may want it or not, are
brought through our human nature into relations between
Churches. Therefore, it is on the Primates of the
Churches, episcopate, clergy and faithful that our ability
to preserve the unity of the whole Orthodox Church in the
universe depends. And by all possible means we must
strengthen Holy Orthodoxy remembering that for us all the
Holy Mother of God is our Mother and we are Her children,
as St. Theophanes the Recluse so strongly put it in his
homily on the Feast of the Dormition’.

Then His Holiness greeted His Beatitude Metropolitan
Rostislav and His Eminence Archbishop George of
Michalovce, as well as His Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos
of Diokleia, representative of the Patriarch of
Constantinople, who came to Russia for a pilgrimage.
Speaking about the relations between the Russian Orthodox
Church and the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia,
Patriarch Kirill stressed their common tradition tracing
back to the missionary work of Ss Cyril and Methodius,
whose preaching in Moravia was to lead to the Baptism of
Russia.

‘In 1951, the Russian Orthodox Church granted
canonical autocephaly to the Czechoslovakian Orthodox
Church. This step was dictated not by a political
situation, not by the influence of secular forces, but our
Church’s clear awareness of the hard situation in
which our brothers and sister found themselves in post-war
Czechoslovakia. For political reasons, nobody from outside
except for the Russian Church could give real help to the
Orthodox in Czechoslovakia. We themselves were lacking
everything as our churches were closed and the clergy were
just coming out of prisons and camps, and our people just
began to get rid of the heavy consequences of the Fascist
aggression, as our fathers became aware of the need to be
together with the Orthodox people of the then
Czechoslovakia, not to dominate the flock, not to dictate
our own terms to the small flock as they were at that
time, but in the matter of only a few years, in 1951, to
grant full canonical independence, the status of
autocephaly, to the Church of Czechia and Slovakia. And
now, after 65 years, we with gratitude to God can note
that the Orthodox of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is a
full-fledged sister in the family of Autocephalous Local
Orthodox Churches, growing from strength to strength and
properly carrying out her salvific mission… We
rejoice in the fact that there are no more disputes and
bewilderments around the autocephalous status of the
Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. It is another
testimony to the propriety of the action made by our
fathers in 1951, when they proclaimed the autocephaly of
the small Orthodox flock in the Czech Lands of
Slovakia’.

Speaking about the difficult period in the history of the
Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, which she
has experienced in recent years, Patriarch Kirill thanked
God for granting peace to this Church. ‘We thank God
that the former hardships are gradually overcome and the
most difficult things are past. I would like to assure you
that you and your fellow-archpastors can always rely on
the support of the Mother – the Russian Orthodox
Church. She is not the Mother by the origin of Orthodoxy
in the Czech Land and Slovakia, but by the fact that the
Russian Church took the suffering Orthodox people in
Czechia and Slovakia in her fold in the post-war time and
certainly became Mother for them’.

As a token of his visit to Moscow and the celebration of
the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the
Kremlin, Patriarch Kirill presented Metropolitan Rostislav
with a pectoral icon and a cross produced in memory of the
millennium of the demise of the Holy Prince Vladimir
Equal-to-the-Apostles and presented the Church of the
Czech Lands and Slovakia with a copy of the Kazan Icon of
the Mother of God.

Addressing His Holiness and all the participants in the
liturgy, Metropolitan Rostislav said in particular,
‘From our hearts we thank you for the love that we
feel in your words, for the brotherly care given us
everywhere and in everything, for the spiritual joy that
you have given us by celebrating together with us the
Divine Liturgy here, in the Moscow Kremlin’s
Cathedral of the Dormition. We as one of the closest Local
Orthodox Churches always feel brotherly love and support
given by the Russian Orthodox Church. Our Churches and our
nations are united by common cultural roots and age-old
historical relations. Today, in the walls of this
magnificent cathedral, we not only think, but almost
physically feel participation in the history of Holy
Rus’, the intercession of her saints, the power of
her faith and devotion.

‘No political trends can hinder the age-old
relations between our two Local Churches. May relations
between them and unity be strong for the good of the two
Churches and nations for many good years’.

In conclusion of the celebrations, His Holiness awarded
church orders and medals to a number of people.

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