To His Holiness Patriarch Paul, Archbishop of Pec and Metropolitan
Of Belgrade-Karlovtsy.

Your Holiness,

The Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad gathered in New York in October, 2000 welcomes your Holiness and expresses to you and to your much-suffering Serbian people profound gratitude for all the good that the Serbian Church has done for the Russian people that found themselves in foreign lands during the savage years of the communist terror in Russia.

The Russian and Serbian peoples have always been brothers by blood and by faith, while since the time that Serbia gave us shelter our spiritual bonds have become still stronger. That is why we have always so closely taken to heart and experienced the various difficulties and sorrows which the Serbian people has suffered from its religious and political enemies - and in particular now in connection with the tragic events in Kosovo.

Being our brothers by blood and by faith, we have always valued the eucharistic communion between our sister Churches, and desire to preserve this communion to the end of time.

As you know, in the course of our flight from the Homeland, our Church could not have communion with the Church administration in Russia because it was under the watchful control of the atheist authorities. Nevertheless, we always believed that the trial that our people has experienced was temporary, and so we have prayed to God for the salvation of our Homeland and for the regeneration of the Russian Church.

And now a miracle has taken place, the prayers of the host of the New Martyrs of Russia have been heard: the atheist authorities that threatened the whole world has collapsed before our eyes! Now we see with joy and hope how the process of spiritual regeneration foretold by our saints has begun, and parallel with it - a gradual return to health of the Church administration in Russia. This process is difficult and has not gone forward without opposition. Nevertheless, a radiant sign of this has been the recent glorification of the New Martyrs of Russia headed by the slaughtered Royal Family, and the condemnation of the politics of cooperation with the atheist authorities that took place at the last Council of the Russian Church in Moscow.

There still remain other serious wounds in the leadership of the Russian Church which hinder our spiritual rapprochement. Nevertheless, we pray God that He may heal them, too, by the all-powerful grace of the Holy Spirit. Then the desired rapprochement must take place, and, pray God, the Spiritual union between the two torn-apart parts of the Russian Church - that which is in the Homeland and that which has found itself abroad.

We beseech your Holiness to provide your help in this.

We take this opportunity to thank your Holiness, and in your person the whole Serbian Church, for the hospitality it recently granted to Archbishop Mark of Germany.

We beseech your Holiness not to turn us away from liturgical Communion with you, for we desire, together with you, with one mouth and heart, eternally to glorify our Saviour, Christ God.

October 13/26, 2000.