What kind of person was Patriarch Alexy II? What was he like in his youth; what did he particularly enjoy and what did he consider his destination in life? All this often remains “behind the scenes” in the “visible” ministry of the Russian Orthodox Church Primate .
“At the age of six, I helped distribute the Epiphany water in church; this was my first obedience. I knew for sure that I would become a priest and no one else!
Youth is the most active and therefore probably the most wonderful period in every person’s life. Of course, I remember myself when I was twenty, and “things happened”. For example, I was fond of motorcycle racing and loved speed. I can probably say that I also wanted to rebel, especially in my student years.
The early 21st century Russian youth should by no means be called a lost generation! Although I am sometimes confused about the morals of my young contemporaries, I say to myself, “You have to be patient and tolerant”.
Faith arises and develops not because of some rational arguments, but because God gives it to us. You can come to faith even after convincing yourself many times of the absurdity of religion from the rational point of view. You can also see miracles and prove the existence of God to yourself and still not become a believer. Orthodoxy is not “proved, but shown” a popular wisdom says.
There is one more invaluable wisdom in the treasury of the Universal Orthodoxy: if you actively dislike something in the society; if you know for sure that you cannot live like this; if you want to change the world for the better, make sure that you begin with yourself.
A pastor has to be a father, whether or not he has gray hair. Our sacred duty is to help people overcome all kinds of difficulties and trials.
We must and we will communicate with representatives of other confessions and religions in order to unite efforts against evil. If we go into isolation, we will not succeed in joint opposition to terrorism, and the tension between religions will grow.
Any crime in the name of religion is a crime against religion; killing innocent people cannot be justified by any religious ideas.
Movement is the goal; achieving it constitutes the meaning of human existence. My goal is the same as other hierarchs of the Russian Land have had for centuries — to walk with dignity the path of pastoral service and to achieve excellence in serving our Lord Jesus Christ.
One Athonite elder recently said that the world is tired of words. I agree with him. What we need now is not words, but deeds that testify to our faith, including deeds of mercy. These deeds should become a wordless sermon with a clear and convincing message.
To me, the Church is life, because my entire life was spent in the church. I cannot imagine myself without the church and without the grace that it gives to every believer.
There were times when it was the Patriarch’s duty to speak bitter words in the face of the ruler. These seem to be the times when even more bitter words must be spoken in the face of the people.
We must think only of the Eternal. The Infinity of Eternity is what awaits every person. We are going to meet death; all of us. Let us not become attached to everything that we have accumulated on this earth, including wealth, success, power, glory and honor. Everything “human” will end in nothing. Our souls and the good that we have done will be the only things that we will take with us. This is the only wealth that is going to travel to the other side. There is no other”.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds