Monday, March 4, 2013

Patriarch Kirill to his friend Pope Benedict

Last Thursday, at the invitation of the Ironic Catholic, I posted something by His Holiness, Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus (I just had to take his new title out for a test-drive), which I took from Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, about the importance of bearing witness to the truth (see Pope Benedict XVI: a fond farewell). Yesterday I became aware of a letter written by His Beatitude, Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, to Pope Benedict on his retirement. The friendship between these two men of God goes back many years, pre-dating the papacy of Josef Ratzinger's and Vladimir Gundyayev's patriarchy. They hold one another in high esteem and great affection.

I was gratified that Patriarch Kirill also focused on Pope Benedict's commitment to bearing witness to the truth in a relativistic age:
Your Holiness:

In these exceptional days for you, I would like to express the feelings of brotherly love in Christ and respect.

The decision to leave the position of Bishop of Rome, which you, with humility and simplicity, announced on February 11 this year, has found a ready response in the hearts of millions of Catholics.

We have always been close to your consistent ministry, marked by uncompromisingness in matters of faith and unswerving adherence to the living Tradition of the Church. At a time when the ideology of permissiveness and moral relativism tries to dislodge the moral values of life, you boldly raised your voice in defence of the ideals of the Gospel, the high dignity of man and his vocation to freedom from sin.

I have warm memories of our meeting when you were elected to the Roman See. During your ministry we received a positive impetus in the relations between our Churches, responding to the modern world as a witness to Christ crucified and risen. I sincerely hope what developed during your active participation, a good trusting relationship between the Orthodox and the Catholics, will continue to grow with your successor.

Please accept my sincere wishes for good health, long life and help from above in prayer and in your theological writings.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace" (Romans 15:13).

With love in the Lord,

+ Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

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