The message read, in part:
“I sincerely congratulate you on this historic event in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church, the convening of the supreme body of the church authorities, of the Russian Orthodox Church Local Council.
The current Local Council is distinctive for a number of reasons: it is comprised of delegates representing a large cross-section from the clergy, the monasteries and the laity, it has a number of challenging issues on its agenda, and most importantly it is meeting to elect the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
I am confident that the decision of the Council will encourage fruitful cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the state, the preservation of interfaith harmony in Russia, and the ideals of goodness, peace and justice. It will also have a positive impact on the spiritual life of the citizens of Russia and Orthodox Christians around the world.”
The Local Council was convened to elect a new Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church and will meet from 27 to 29 January at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.
The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II died on 5 December 2008.