Message from Mr José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, to the Holy Synod of the Russian Church8. December 2008 - 9:55
It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of His Holiness Alexei II, Patriarch of Moscow and of all Russia, and I would like - in my personal name and in the name of the European Commission - to send my condolences.
At its extraordinary session of 6 December 2008 the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church elected Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne of the Russian Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Kirill will be the primate of the Moscow Patriarchate until the election of the new Patriarch, which will take place at the Local Council. The latter is due to be scheduled not earlier than 40 days and not later than 6 months after the death of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II.
Session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church will take place on December 6 to elect Patriarchal Locum Tenens who will chair the Memorial Commission. The Holy Synod will announce the time of the funeral of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy.
Patriarch was born as Aleksey Mihajlovich Ridiger in Tallinn,Estonia on February 23, 1929 into the family of Russian emigrants , and he is a descendant of German Baltic noble family ofvon Ridiger which adopted Orthodoxy in 18th century.
Greeting by His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW to the Delegation of the Church of Rome3. December 2008 - 11:51
Cardinal Walter Kasper
Representative of His Holiness Pope Benedict
The Sixteenth, Bishop of Rome
Along with your esteemed entourage
With much joy and jubilation in the Lord we welcome your presence and participation in the annual celebration of the memory of the glorious Saint Andrew the First Called Disciple, founder of our Holy Church of Constantinople. From our heart we thank our very beloved brother Pope Benedict, the head of the Church in Rome, because he was well disposed to send you here, as the bearer of his brotherly message of feelings of love and honor. These feelings we also return from our hearts, wishing him and the holy sister Church of Rome every blessing and grace from God.
Decades ago, a holy practice was established encouraging the visitation of the representatives of our Churches at each other's thronal feasts. The ever-memorable heads of our Churches, Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI established the first event. It was animated by the living desire that our Churches which had been separated for a whole millennium and, occasionally, found themselves at opposing positions that were not beneficial, finally came into a period of a dialogue of love and truth. This dialogue would have as its end the full restoration of complete unity, just as in the first millennium after Christ.
The homilies for the services and celebrations for the patron of Constantinople, St. Andrew, were centered on the certainty that the common journey toward full unity between the two sister Churches - Catholic and Orthodox - is the only answer, including to the challenges of today's world in full economic, political, and social crisis.
The celebrations were attended by a large delegation from the Church of Rome, led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the council for Christian unity, representatives of the other Christian confessions, the diplomatic corps, and various authorities.