XIII Awards Ceremony of the Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations

Uploaded by VestnikKavkaza on 24.01.2013

The Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations,
the chairman of the board of which today is His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill,
plays an important unifying and shaping role in the life of the Orthodox community.
From the beginning of its existence it is also impossible to overestimate the beneficial, constructive role
played by Patriarch Alexy II in it.
Till the last days of his life Patriarch Alexy II took an active part in all the activities of the Fund,
leading its board of trustees.
Since his accession to the throne of the Great Church,
His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, having praised the foundation,
has paid attention to the new challenges and opportunities
to strengthen the unity of Orthodox peoples in the modern world.
The foundation has launched numerous programs dedicated to strengthening ties
between the fraternal Orthodox peoples.
Versatile activities are being carried out to strengthen the role of the Orthodox Church in the world.
The big event in the life of the Orthodox peoples was the establishment of the International Prize
"For outstanding work in strengthening the unity of Orthodox peoples.
For approval and promotion of Christian values in society."
The annual awarding of public, religious, political and public figures of various countries
for their valuable contribution to the strengthening of the spiritual and cultural unity of the Orthodox peoples,
strengthening economic and political ties between countries
that have historically emerged in the context of the Eastern Christian tradition,
is a great event in the life of the Orthodox community and the entire Christian world.
Since 2009, the award has been named after His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II.
This year's awards ceremony is being held by the foundation for the 13th time.
Valery Alexeyev, president of the International Foundation for theUnity of Orthodox Christian Nations
The world today, at the beginning of the XXI century, is in a dramatic state of transition
from the traditional well-established state to something new and unknown.
Unfortunately, there are influential global players
that would like to change the world beyond recognition,
to deprive humanity of traditional spiritual and cultural values,
without which the path to a new state is likely to be catastrophic.
Christianity and the entire system of spiritual and cultural values and meanings formed on its basis
help mankind not to slip into the fatal path of self-destruction,
and the people we award today play, each in his place, a huge role in protecting and asserting Christian Orthodox values.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill
Today we honour the winners of the prize,
known and respected government and church leaders from various countries:
one of the oldest primates of the local churches, the Georgian Orthodox Church,
our beloved brother, His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II,
His Excellency the President of the Lebanese Republic Michel Suleiman
and President of "Russian Railways" and philanthropist Vladimir Yakunin.
Among the award winners for the year 2012
there is His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II.
Recently, His Holiness and Beatitude celebrated the 35th anniversary of his activity and his 80th birthday.
Today, Patriarch and Catholicos Ilia II is the eldest of all the primates of Local Orthodox Churches.
His Holiness Patriarch Ilia performs constant primatial devotion at a difficult time for his country and his flock,
strengthening the spiritual unity of the Georgian people.
His Holiness makes a lot of efforts for the revival of church life, the development of national culture,
the approval of evangelical principles in the life of society
and therefore is deeply respected not only by his people but also by the entire Orthodox world.
Over the many years of his patriarchate, His Holiness and Beatitude has courted the highest spiritual authority.
His wisdom and his deep pastoral experience has helped the Russian and Georgian churches
even in the difficult years to maintain bilateral relations in the communication with a warmth of Christ's love and brotherly frankness.
Last year was difficult for Russia and other countries, when the very foundations of our faith and morals
were tested for strength.
However, it is encouraging that hundreds of thousands of ordinary people,
as well as prominent public figures and statesmen, stood up in defense of orthodoxy.
All this was an indication that the church was still the most influential spiritual and social force,
and its position was significant and relevant in the development of a common Christian response to the challenges and threats of the modern world.
We have a lot of work to do,
and we are edified and inspired by the words of the Apostle Paul,
calling to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace,
and all these works should be aimed at strengthening peace and mutual understanding between the people
and the transformation of human relations, the level of personal contact in a family, a workplace,
communities, states and the entire human family.
His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II,
Irakli G. Gudushauri-Shiolashvili, was born on 4 January 1933 in Vladikavkaz.
In 1952 he graduated from the Russian Secondary School No. 22 in Ordzhonikidze
and entered the Moscow Theological Seminary,
graduating in 1956, and then continued his studies at the Moscow Theological Academy.
On 16 April 1957 he took monastic vows with the name Ilia at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tbilisi,
with the blessing of the Patriarch of All Georgia Melchizedek III.
On 23 December 1977 he was elected Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia.
From 1978 to 1983 he was president of the World Council of Churches.
He was awarded by the Georgian and other autocephalous Orthodox churches,
the state awards of Georgia and other countries and international organizations.
He plays a prominent role in the strengthening of the spiritual unity of the Georgian people.
He does a lot for the development of national culture, the promotion of ideas of peacemaking and cooperation in the community.
He also has a huge reputation and recognition throughout the Orthodox world in general.
His Holiness and Beatitude, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II!
Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II
Today, receiving the award, I attribute it not to my credit but to the credit of the Georgian Orthodox Church
and the Georgian people, who, in spite of the great difficulties of the communist and post-communist period,
have shown a deep love for God and restored and built thousands of churches and monasteries,
along with restoring the spirituality of the people.
We should say that our awards ceremony takes place
against a background of the fact that the relations between Russia and Georgia are not normal,
and only the efforts of the Russian and Georgian Orthodox Churches preserve the spiritual bond and good relations.
I think that today's event will help restore relations between the two states.
In Georgia, we have put forward three aspects of the relationships between people,
three values needed to promote peace and justice among individuals and entire nations:
these are God, Homeland and People.
The Orthodox belief in God is the foundation, and love of the motherland and humankind is a great value.
People who appreciate these values will never bring harm to any person or state.
We need to reinforce these feelings inside us, above all, if we want to be decent human beings and citizens.
Once again, I express my deep gratitude for such an award,
and I want to end my speech with the words of St. John Chrysostom: "Thank God for everything!"
The XIII Annual Award Ceremony of the International Public Foundation "Unity of Orthodox Peoples" for the year of 2012
comes to its end.
All the activities of today's winners are a clear indication of living and creative Christian faith,
following the life-giving values of the Holy Gospel.
We once again congratulate our winners today. We wish them all God's blessings in all their future good works.