On September 6, 2020, on the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, reports the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. A delegation of bishops, clergymen, monastics and laity of the Belarusian Orthodox Church took part in the service.
According to the resolution of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of August 25 this year (journal No. 46), His Holiness Patriarch Kirill elevated His Grace Veniamin to the rank of Metropolitan, who was elected Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus.
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church announced the decree:
“To His Grace, His Beatitude Veniamin, Bishop of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus
In connection with your appointment as Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus (resolution of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of August 25, 2020, journal No. 46), you are elevated to the rank of metropolitan and are awarded the right to wear a second panagia within the Belarusian Orthodox Church.”
At the end of the Liturgy, Metropolitan Veniamin of Minsk and Zaslavl addressed the participants of the service, and said, in particular:
“Your Holiness, gracious Father, dear fellow hierarchs, dear brothers and sisters!
At this exciting and, at the same time, solemn moment of my life, I am gratefully addressing you, Your Holiness, and the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has assigned me such a responsible and difficult service.
It was not easy for me to comprehend in these days such an unexpected turn in my life, and I found answers to my questions, thoughts and feelings in the word of Holy Scripture, in the history of the Mother Church. Who am I, the smallest of my brothers (see Psalm 151:1), behind Prophet David in a manner of speaking, elevated to the highest degree of priestly ministry?
I realize that this is a high and responsible ministry, I realize that the words that our Lord once addressed to the Apostle Peter: “Do you love Me?” and the call “feed My sheep” (see John 21:15) apply to me as well.
Many other thoughts and feelings fill my heart, and I realize that it is impossible to carry on my ministry without the support and, above all, the prayerful support of Your Holiness, fellow brothers, all residents of Belarus, and all those who pray in other countries and peoples.
Now I am worried about my dear Belarus and now, imitating Samuel, I say: here I am, Lord, speak, for Thy servant is listening (see 1 Samuel 3:10).”
Metropolitan Veniamin spoke about the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the Zhirovichi Monastery and the 550th anniversary of the appearance of the Zhirovichi Icon of the Mother of God, and on behalf of the Belarusian Orthodox Church presented His Holiness with an exact copy of the Zhirovichi Icon.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill addressed Metropolitan Veniamin with a speech.
“I am glad that you were unanimously elected at the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, that there was no one who would say: “Let’s wait a little longer” or “Let’s think again, maybe there is someone else who can handle it as well. ”
“The unanimity of the Holy Synod testifies to high trust in you, and this trust is based not simply on personal sympathies,” continued the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. “This trust is based on what we know about your life, about your labors, about your view of contemporary church problems. But the most important thing is that we know about your sincere and heartfelt vocation to be a clergyman, and we hope that during a time that cannot be called easy, including for Belarus, you will have wisdom and spiritual strength in this way to lead your people in order to avoid all kinds of divisions that could cause irreparable harm to this people’s spiritual and national life, and so that not only peace, but also justice would triumph in Belarusian society.”
“May the Lord help you to wisely and salvationally carry out your ministry, remembering both the archpastors who are now in your jurisdiction, and the clergy, and all the pious Belarusian people. I would like to present you with these signs of your ministry – a cross and two panagias, which you have the right to impose on yourself within the limits of the Belarusian Church, in memory of what happened today by the grace of God in your life. And may the Lord Himself show you the way and support you, and may the Most Holy Theotokos keep you under Her most pure Protection. Amen! Many Years!” concluded His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.