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Patriarch Kirill visits Birobidzhan
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill visited the Jewish Autonomous Region, the press service of the administration of the Jewish Autonomous Region reported.
Immediately upon arrival at the regional center, the First Hierarch performed a short prayer service at the Blagoveshchensk Cathedral. During the service, he addressed the congregation with words of greeting and blessing.
- I am sincerely glad to have the opportunity to set foot on the land of the Jewish Autonomous Region, glad to have the opportunity to pray with you. I attach great importance to the revival of the Far East and, as a patriarch, I pay special attention to the revival of church life, because the Far East, like no other region of our country, suffered from the difficult years of the godless hard times, when all churches were closed, destroyed, priests were repressed, and there was not even a memory left. Even external symbols, reminiscent of religious life, were destroyed, to the point that crosses were cut down, chapels were destroyed…. Since the 90s, a revival of spiritual life began in the Far East, people rallied, collected their funds and began to restore God's temples. It is surprising that as soon as temples appeared, communities were formed, despite the fact that several generations of people lived without any symbols of Orthodox religiosity, these temples began to fill up with people. And this means that faith was alive in the hearts of people, it did not disappear anywhere, and this is an amazing feat of preserving faith in world history, ”said His Holiness the Patriarch.
He noted that over 20 years, the Russian Orthodox Church has built tens of thousands of churches, hundreds of monasteries, thousands of Sunday schools, hundreds of educational institutions have been opened, and this also happened because the faith did not leave people. In the Far East, said the Primate, very good and good deeds are being done now, there is an opportunity to see how people's lives are being revived. Having visited Birobidzhan, His Holiness the Patriarch drew attention to the fact that the regional center is a small but cozy and beautiful city, it leaves a good impression of a civilized regional capital.
- I believe that in the Jewish Autonomous Region will develop new production, new technologies, it will grow material wealth and it is important that this was accompanied by the strengthening of faith.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church thanked the Archbishop of Birobidzhan and Kuldur Joseph for his efforts to create a diocese and revive church life, and wished the Birobidzhan diocese prosperity in the future. In memory of his visit, he presented Vladyka Joseph with an image of Christ the Savior with a memorable inscription.
Governor Alexander Vinnikov, on behalf of all residents, thanked the Patriarch for his attention to the Jewish Autonomous Region. He stressed that not only Orthodox Christians, but also representatives of other religious denominations were waiting for his arrival, as the region is multinational and people sincerely and kindly relate to each other, regardless of what faith they are. The head of the region expressed special gratitude to His Holiness the Patriarch for the contribution that the Birobidzhan diocese made to the elimination of the consequences of large-scale flooding. One of the first to respond to trouble was that clergymen visited people’s temporary stay points, their word was sometimes more important than material assistance.