On March 12, 2002, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church resolved to hold Orthodox Youth Day on the feast of the Meeting of the Lord throughout the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate. In conjunction with this, His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia, has released his annual epistle, the text of which is available below. With the blessing of His Holiness, all churches of the Russian Orthodox Church are asked to read the Patriarchal epistle upon completion of the Divine Liturgy on February 15 of this year.
Dear brothers and sisters!
I sincerely congratulate all of you on the feast of the Meeting of the Lord, as well as the Day of Orthodox Youth, which we now celebrate.
Today we prayerfully recall how the Most Pure Virgin Mary brought her Son – the Divine Infant Jesus – to the Temple in Jerusalem, where they were greeted by the elder Simeon, a man – as Scripture bears witness – just and devout, and the Holy Spirit was upon him (Luke 2:25). This man had lived a long and God-pleasing life, and at its very end was vouchsafed to behold the Messiah promised by the prophets, the Savior of the world.
The majority of us – and this applies above all to young people – encountered Christ long before we reached old age, in our youth or middle age. We received this precious opportunity from the Lord freely, as a gift, and we are called upon to preserve the flame of faith and love for God that has been ignited in our hearts. And the brighter the light from this fire is, the stronger will be the power of that love, the more joyous and warm this world will be for us and for our loved ones.
Today I would like to call upon all of you, but especially on the youth, not to waste away your time. Remember that no man is able to rewrite the events of his life from scratch, as if on a fresh sheet of paper, reactivating the potential he once had. In the words of the Apostle Paul, walk ye circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil… Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is… and be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:15-18).
People in older generations are well aware how complicated and dangerous life’s paths can be. In order to walk it firmly and confidently, without tripping over the stones of temptation and successfully overcoming all obstacles, we must have God Himself as our companion. Then the Lord will constantly be with us, and will grant us His great mercies in abundance. He will give us much more than what we deserve, more than we should have even imagined at the time. And when the time comes to conclude our earthly journey and step over the threshold of eternity, may we be found worthy to meet Christ, Who calls us to commune of His incorruptible blessings, which He hath prepared for those who love Him. Amen.
Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia