Epistle of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the Day of Orthodox Youth
Dear Brothers and Sisters! I express my heartfelt congratulations to you on this feast day of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple and the Day of Orthodox Youth.
Turning my mind’s eye to the events which led to the establishment of this church holiday, we and Righteous Simeon both joyfully greet the Savior Who was brought to the Temple of Jerusalem. But this event, in addition to its historic significance, has another symbolic meaning: in this we see the mystical meeting of the Creator and His creation, the personal meeting of mankind and God.
It is no accident that the International Day of Orthodox Youth was scheduled to coincide with the holiday of the Presentation of the Lord. The heart of a young person is particularly susceptible to all that is happening around him. In youth, a person is filled with great hopes and expectations, like a sponge that receives new impressions and his place in the world. The world opens to young people many perspectives for personal growth and opportunities for self-realization. But the world often offers such norms of behavior and values which do not concord, and even contradict, the moral law which was established by the Lord. How we respond to these challenges—how we train our hearts in our youth, will it be as coarse as a rock, wicked, filled with hatred, arrogant and conformist, or will it be devoted to truth, meek, loving, kind and empathetic?—will determine our happiness and ability to meet God in our lives.
Addressing the young people, I would like to say the following: dear young brothers and sisters, I call upon you to hold firmly to the spiritual-moral ideals commanded by the Creator, preserving your mind and emotions in chastity and purity, serving as an example of firmness in faith, of mercy and sympathy, to all around you.
I prayerfully wish all of you constant growth in love for the Lord and your neighbors, Divine help in good deeds and works, and constructive labor to the benefit of our Fatherland and our people.