On 15th September 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the Liturgy at the Church of St. Olga, Equal-to-the-Apostles, Patriarchal metochion in Ostankino, Moscow. Speaking at a brotherly repast which followed the divine service His Holiness expressed his joy over the decision taken the day before concerning the return of the Western European parishes of Russian tradition to the bosom of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“Great changes have recently taken place in the life of the Church,” His Holiness said, “And the fact that today we are celebrating the remarkable event of reunion of the last piece of the Russian émigré community with the Moscow Patriarchate is not only an achievement of church diplomacy. First and foremost, it is the result of radical changes the Russian Orthodox Church has undergone over the recent years: <…> great many churches, incredible parochial activity, unprecedented in the modern-day Christian world, successful development of social, youth, educational and missionary ministry thanks to the efforts of our clergy and laity – people concerned about the future of the Church.”
“And the second factor is that our country has changed beyond recognition. Had not these changes occurred in the life of Russia, had the image of our country remained the same as several decades ago, there would have been no reunification,” Patriarch Kirill continued.
“Both the Church and the country have changed, thus creating prerequisites for this reunion. What happened yesterday is the result of hard work carried out by our whole nation, including our politicians, our scholars, our intelligentsia – all those working for the good of our homeland, to the glory of Russia. And I thank God that the image of new Russia and the image of the Russian Church are becoming more and more attractive,” His Holiness concluded.