New Primate of the Russian Church receives the staff of Metropolitan Peter of Moscow

The enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia took place during Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on 1 February 2009.

The message of the Local Council to the beloved in the Lord pastors, honourable monks and nuns, and all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church was read out after the communion verse.

After the Liturgy, Patriarch Exarch of All Belarus Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk and Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna placed the mantle on the Patriarch.

Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga handed the patriarchal cowl to the Russian Orthodox Church and said, ‘Your Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia! Today, by the will of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church you are given this ‘helmet – the hope of salvation’ (1 Thess 5:8). May the angels on it stand before the Throne of the Almighty with the prayer for your successful ministry. May the Cross of Christ that crown the cowl remind you of the sacrificial exploit of the Patriarchal office in the name of love of God. Place this cowl on your head in the firm hope for our Chief Shepherd Who died and was risen for us. May God’s almighty hand strengthen you in you ministry.’ The cowl was placed on the head of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine handed His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia the patriarchal staff that belonged to St. Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow. This ancient staff was brought to the Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour from the Armory where it is kept. His Beatitude Vladimir said, ‘Your Holiness! On behalf of the Local Council, which elected you, I solemnly hand you the staff of the Primates of Moscow on this joyous day when our Church got the sixteenth Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

‘This staff belonged to Metropolitan Peter of Kiev and Moscow, the miracle-worker, who transferred the primatial see to Moscow. We hope that you will continue the ministry of the holy Primates of Moscow who worked tirelessly to build and order the Church of Christ, who consolidated the unity of Holy Russia, which by God’s Providence has begun its life in the holy baptismal font of Kiev. We promise to help Your Holiness in this sacred cause.

‘The staff is a sign of a journey. It helps those who come to fulfill their mission. The Primate if the Church is called to imitate Christ, Whom ‘God sent into the world so that we might live through him’ (1 Jn 4:9). The handing of this staff to you is an expression of the willingness of the whole Church to follow you, to work under you so that the glory of God spreads all over the entire earth.

“The plenitude of our Church thus witnesses the great honour of being the Primate and also of a particular confidence, as millions of people are looking at you with joy and hope. May this staff be the one of God’s inheritance (cf. Jer 10:16) and the ‘staff of favour’ (Zech 11:7) for our Church.’

His Holiness addressed the worshippers gathered at the Cathedral with his primatial homily and noted in particular that ‘there is no room for anything personal and private in the life of the Patriarch. He and his whole life belong to God and the Church, and his heart bleeds for the people of God, in particular for those who have fallen away from the church unity and for those who have not yet found faith. The patriarchal ministry is a special spiritual feat. It is impossible to perform it alone or with support of a limited circle of like-minded persons. All bishops and the whole Church with the variety of gifts of its members are involved in the accomplishment of this feat through communion in prayer. Therefore, being aware of my unworthiness, I ascend to the Patriarch throne with trepidation and humbly entrust myself to the intercession of my holy predecessors, metropolitans and patriarchs of Kiev and Moscow, before God’s altar.’

The head of the Russian state Dmitry Medvedev addressed His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Primates and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, participants in the Local Council of the Russian Church and all those present in the Cathedral.

‘Esteemed Primes of the Local Orthodox Churches, Your Eminences, Your Graces, participants in the Local Council, ladies and gentlemen! First of all allow me to sincerely congratulate Your Holiness on your enthronement as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. This is a great event in the life of our country and of all Orthodox nations. This event opens a new epoch in the development of Orthodoxy in our country and, we hope, provided new conditions for the dialogue of full value between the Russian Orthodox Church and the state.

‘The Patriarchal ministry is indeed a difficult one. The feat of the Patriarchal office in Russia has testified to the attentive and special attitude to the people and to their protection under difficult and sometimes tragic circumstances. Today, when Russia is developing, and the world remains as controversial and full of problems as many centuries ago, common work of the state and the Russian Orthodox Church will be in demand. Russia is a complex state, living in which are people of different background and different beliefs, and because of this the mission of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia becomes special. Your Holiness, may I once again sincerely greet you and wish you success in your Primatial ministry, good health and strength.’

His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria greeted the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, noting, ‘We arrived here to share the joy of your enthronement as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Your holy predecessors Peter, Alexy, Philip, Jonah, Hermogen and Tikhon have glorified the Patriarchal Throne. May the Lord grant you through their prayers many years, good spiritual and bodily health, and mighty strength to perform your Patriarchal ministry and to bring abundant fruits for the good of the Holy Russian Church and the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which we all serve as best as we can.’

Many Years were proclaimed to His Holiness; the clergymen and worshippers joined the choir.