His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill visited the Deanery of Mexico from January 17 to 20 of this year.
On Friday January 17th His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill arrived in Mexico City where he was greeted by clergy of the Deanery of Mexico, as well as by the church warden of the local parish His Excellency Prince Alexander Saitcevsky, who hosted a dinner in honor of His Eminence.
Then on the morning of Saturday the 18th Archbishop Kyrill met with Archimandrite Nektariy (Haji-Petropoulos) of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Monastery in Mexico City and other clergy of the deanery to discuss the growth of the Western American Diocese in Mexico and other important administrative and pastoral issues. Later that day His Eminence attended the All-night Vigil on the eve of Theophany. The Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations – Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk and Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA were present as well.
After vigil Archbishop Kyrill welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan Ilarion, noted the importance of his visit to Mexico and congratulated him on his having received the award of the Medal of the Honorary Legion of Mexico.
Vladyka Ilarion then addressed the worshipers:
Your Eminence, Dear Vladyka Archbishop Kyrill, Dear Fr Nektarios, Dear Brothers and Sisters:
First of all, I wish to relay to you the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. He has visited Mexico himself and knows well the needs of the Orthodox faithful in this nation, and asked that I pass on to you his love.
The Orthodox Faith strengthens us on our life’s path, and it is very important that Russian people, even when they are very far from their Homeland, cherish and love the Holy Orthodox Faith, which we inherited from our ancestors and which we strive to pass on to our descendants.
It is no less important, too, that the members of the Russian Orthodox Church themselves represent the broadest scope of nationalities, speaking in their own tongues. Our Church is Russian in its spiritual roots, but is not exclusively Russian in the language of its divine services, nor in the daily language of our parishioners. Believers of the Russian Orthodox Church speak Russian, Ukrainian, Belarussian, Moldovan, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and many other languages, being united by the Orthodox Church, the Holy Eucharist and love for the spiritual legacy of Holy Russia.
Last year, our multi-national and multi-million-member Church celebrated the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia. The historic Russian Church originated when Holy Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, baptized the Russian people in the waters of the Dnieper River, and he became the protector and disseminator of the Orthodox Faith, for it was not only on the territory of Holy Russia, which grew over the course of centuries, but spread even beyond its borders when Russian people carried the light of the Orthodox Faith to other peoples.
After the 1917 Revolution, when hundreds of thousands of Russian people found themselves outside of Russia’s borders, the first thing they would do was build churches. In the 1990’s, when a new wave of emigres spread to many countries, including lands far from historical Russia, new Orthodox churches were built. Over many decades, when the Orthodox Faith in the Fatherland was persecuted, the diaspora, including the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, carefully preserved it.
Now, after the reestablishment of unity within the Russian Church, we speak of the spiritual podvig of our ancestors not only in the Fatherland, but abroad, because our Church survived and even today continues in survive as a single multinational organism. Traveling from Moscow to this distant nation of Mexico, we can find here our Orthodox believers: those who speak Russian, and those who do not, but who cherish the Orthodox Faith and legacy of Holy Russia here on this land.
I wish for this parish and this monastery further success and Divine help in your responsible service here. I invoke God’s blessing upon you and desire that you firmly preserve the Orthodox Faith, so that our compatriots who live here permanently now not only keep the Orthodox Faith and Russian language for themselves, but pass it on to their children and grandchildren. I hope that we all remember forever: if the Lord situated us Russian Orthodox faithful on this land, this means that He entrusted to us a special Apostolic mission comprised not only of staunchly preserving, but of disseminating and preaching the Holy Orthodox Faith.
On the Feast Theophany, His Eminence Metropolitan Ilarion, Archbishop Kyrill, Archbishop Justinian and hierarchs of other Local Orthodox Churches concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Antiochian Church of Saint George. Members of the choir at the Holy Trinity Monastery sang the Divine Service in Church Slavonic. Later Archbishop Kyrill returned to the monastery where he attended a dinner in his honor.
Early that evening Archimandrite Nektariy presented Archbishop Kyrill with a summary of the progress made by the monastery’s translators, who are producing translations of Divine Services and other Orthodox missionary materials from various languages into Spanish. His Eminence was given books from this project: Drops of Mercy: An Orthodox Prayerbook, Akathist to the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow," Akathist to St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco and The Prayers of Purity.
Having received further hospitality on Monday January 20, His Eminence return to His See in San Francisco.