Your Eminence, Vladyka Metropolitan Alexander,
Brother Archpastors, Honorable Fathers,
Dear Orthodox Christians in Kazakhstan:
Today I rejoice together with you over this important event, the pilgrimage to Kazakhstan of the miracle-working Holy Icon of the Russian Diaspora, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign.”
Until very recently, the existence of this icon far from Russia reminded us of the sorrowful division among the Orthodox people, of the persecutions, the enslavement and imprisonment of those who bore the cross of their Christian service within the conditions of a godless regime.
Today the glorified image of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God bears witness to and serves the true spiritual unity of the Orthodox flock of the Mother Church, attesting to our “communion in the Holy Ghost” (2 Corinthians 13:13), which has now been given visible, physical manifestation. I hope that the visit of the main holy icon of the Russian diaspora to Kazakhstan will bring great spiritual consolation and benefit to the believers of this land, from whom we are separated by thousands of miles, but with whom we remain in spiritual kinship. This kinship arises from the fact that we all have as our Intercessor and Protectress the Most-Holy Mother of God, who from ancient times helped her devoted spiritual children overcome all life’s trials and tribulations.
May the blessed help of the Queen of Heaven eternally remain with you, who now piously receive her holy icon within the confines of your earthly Fatherland.
From all my heart I greet the flock of the land of Kazakhstan with this joyous event and I invoke upon you all Divine blessings. May the Most-Holy Mother of God cover you with her holy omophorion, granting peace and well-being to all who live and labor on this blessed land, where so many confessors and martyrs of the Russian Orthodox Church shoe forth!
With love in the Lord and a request for your prayers,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia