Session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow

On December 10, a session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church chaired by the Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad opens at the Patriarchal residence at St. Daniel's Monastery.

Taking part in the session are Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Vladimir of St Petersburg and Ladoga; Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus; Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna; Metropolitan Clement of Kaluga and Borovsk, Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldova; Metropolitan Valentin of Orenburg and Buzuluk; Archbishop Alexander of Kostroma and Galich; Archbishop Tikhon pf Novosibirsk and Berdsk; Bishop Feofilakt of Bryansk and Sevsk; Bishop Stefan of Tura and Mozyr.

Metropolitan Kirill addressed members of the Holy Synod with the following words:

'I greet you, dear Most Reverend Vladykas:

The session of the Holy Synod today takes place without His Holiness Patriarch Alexy, our father and first hierarch. We all feel real spiritual grief.

His Holiness Patriarch Alexy had led our Church for eighteen years. Together with him we have walked along hard roads of social changes, political and economic cataclysms. The Church has overcome difficulties together with her people, sharing their suffering and grieving for the blood that was shed. At the same time, remarkable events occurred in the life of our country, our people and our Church. Our country was becoming free. The Church has become free. It is for the first time in many centuries that relations the Church and the state maintain are in full harmony with the Tradition of the Orthodox Church. They were reflected in the 'Foundations of Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church.'

By God's grace the life of our people has become peaceful. Today we can see political stability in society both in Russia and in many other countries, though tension and disturbances still exist that affect our Church.

His Holiness Patriarch Alexy had served to reconciliation and unity during his whole life, and commanded us to do the same. I believe that we must fulfill his commandment together as one episcopate of the one Russian Orthodox Church.

We have celebrated the requiem service praying for our late Primate. We believe that he is with us today.'