Eminent Brother Archpastors, honorable Fathers,
beloved Brothers, Sisters and Children in Christ:
I offer my words of greeting, which are inspired by Christian love, on this great feast of the Nativity of Christ! With a warm heart I wish you all that profound and inalienable peace, which was heralded by the angels above the town of Bethlehem on the holy night when "the Word was made flesh" (John 1:14).
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you”(John 14:27).
Having gathered in an expanded session of the Synod of Bishops as we approach the feast day of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York City, we, the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, warmly greet the clergymen and God-loving flock with the all-diaspora celebration of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign", the “Protectress” of the Russian diaspora.
We are approaching the centennial of the founding of the Russian Church Abroad, which continues to minister to its flock, scattered like Divine kernels of wheat throughout the world. Over the course of that time, the work of its Councils, the sessions of its Synod of Bishops, important ecclesiastical-social gatherings and various Church celebrations have all taken place under the auspices of the Kursk-Root Icon. This miracle-working image has accompanied Russian refugees fleeing cruel persecutors who dared to desecrate or destroy the holy sites of our Fatherland, murder archpastors, pastors and a multitude of believers, including the Royal Passion-bearers. The hundredth anniversary of the martyrdom of the latter was prayerfully marked in all the dioceses of our Church this year.
In May of this year the clergy of the Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Seattle, WA, performed an "instructive" Divine Liturgy during which young children were taught about the Eucharist at this Divine Service.