Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk greets participants of the IV Conference of Russian compatriots living in China. The conference theme, which was held in Harbin, on 4th-5th of May 2010 - "Russian Historical Heritage in China: Problems of Study, Preservation and Popularization in the Light of the 65th Anniversary of the Great Victory." The message of Metropolitan Hilarion is given completely below.
You have gathered in Harbin - a city historically associated with Russia, the Orthodox Church and Russian culture. In the past century, Harbin was the hospitable home for tens of thousands of our compatriots, who for decades have not felt like outsiders or strangers in this city. This is largely thanks to the fact that here was carried out in the fullness the religious and spiritual life of all immigrants from Russia - not only the Orthodox, but also Catholics, Muslims, Jews. Harbin was decorated by 23 Orthodox churches. Many to this day remember the fullness and beauty of the church life of this city. Our compatriots, who lived in Harbin, carefully preserved their cultural and religious traditions. Loyalty to their spiritual roots allowed them to maintain a spirit of unity. I am glad that the current generations of our countrymen are seeking to revive and reaffirm the traditions of Russian emigration in China: to keep the faith of their ancestors, to remember its historical roots and to maintain a live connection to the Motherland.
The Russian Orthodox Church unites Orthodox believers not only in the space of historical Russia, but also far beyond its borders. The Church spiritually leads many of the faithful compatriots, either permanently or temporarily residing in more than 70 countries, including China. Maternal care of the Church allows her faithful children to maintain their spiritual and cultural identity. Our witness to the world of our traditional values is not only key to the preservation of our own face, but also a factor contributing to the development of relations with the peoples of those countries in which God judged us to live. I urge you all to the testimony about the values of the Russian world through the embodiment in everyday life the most important principles of its existence, through the revival of our cultural and historical heritage in China, through the preservation of the native language.
I wish all the participants of the conference God's help in forthcoming works.
Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk