Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church completed its work on the Feast of All Saints
On 29 June 2008, the day when the Russian Orthodox Church commemorates All Saints who shone forth in the Land of Russia, the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church completed its work taking part in which were one hundred and eighty-three archpastors from twenty countries. His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia officiated at the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of Al Belarus, read out the Message of the Blessed Bishops' Council to the clergy, monastics and all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Russian President Medvedev greeted His Holiness the Patriarch after the festive prayer service. He congratulated all those present with the beginning of the celebration of the 1020th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia and underscored that people in our country had actively discussed the work of the Council. He believes it to be a positive consequence of the revival of the Church.
The head of the Russian State remarked that thanks to the Orthodox faith Russian culture acquired Biblical values on which the system of moral ideals common for our country and Europe is built.
'The celebration of the millennium of the Baptism of Russia was a momentous event for our country. Two decades that followed was a time when Orthodoxy flourished. Not only church buildings were restored, but also the integrity of the Church,' President Medvedev said and handed over to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church a part of the robe of the Most Holy Mother of God, a particle of the relics of St. Prince Vladimir, and a particle of the relics of St. John the Baptist that were kept in the museums of the Moscow Kremlin.
The return of these holy shrines before which many of our pious predecessors prayed marks the restoration of good relations between Church and State, His Holiness said. - These shrines would serve to the spiritual and moral revival of the Russian people.
His Holiness told all those present about the Bishops' Council and added that it was the first time that the hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad took part in it after the Act of Canonical Communion was signed.
The festive divine service concluded the work of the Bishops' Council and began celebration of the 1020th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia. His Holiness the Patriarch wished the archpastors, pastors, monastics and all Orthodox Christians to bring forth the joy of our unity: May you be inspired by the words we sang today, 'Holy Russia, keep the Orthodox faith!'