Friday, December 05, 2008

Eternal memory.

This morning I learned that the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Alexy II, has died at the age of 79. Chosen to lead the Russian Orthodox Church just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Patriarch Alexy shepherded his flock through a tremendously challenging period. Hoping for a spiritual revival after decades of religious persecution, Alexy also sought a privileged role for the Orthodox Church in Russian public life. In the days and years ahead, the legacy of the newly-departed Patriarch will surely be the subject of much debate. Though I'm no expert, I think that Alexy II deserves great praise for helping to restore communion between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia after an eighty-year split. While Catholic-Orthodox relations have often been strained in the last few years, Pope Benedict XVI today acknowledged Patriarch Alexy's commitment to greater understanding among the churches. As I pray for the blessed repose of Patriarch Alexy, I pray also for all who mourn him and particularly for the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church. Grant rest, O Lord, to the soul of your newly-departed servant Patriarch Alexy, and may his memory be eternal! AMDG.


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