His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia congratulated Metropolitan Filaret of Lvov and Galicia on his 50th birthday.
The diocese of Lvov and the surrounding area of Galicia has never been Russian until 1939, when the Russian philosopher-emigrant F.A. Stepun wrote the following prophetic lines:
"...Lvov is now included with Hitler's permission in the USSR. The heart of this victory does not rejoice. After all, the Soviet Union is still Russia, and its criminal conquests only tarnish its image. And besides: the rise of nationalistic passions in today's Europe is so disgusting that one cannot help but want to protect "our" Russia from it. The belief in its good power, despite all the horrors that are taking place in it, is so strong that it is still seen more as an intercessor than as an enslaver of other peoples.”
Presently, this territory is a stronghold of Ukrainian nationalism which serves breeding ground for vehement Russophobia and Nazi militant movement. Nevertheless, the Russian Orthodox Church reaches our to the clergy and population of the area with the word of reconciliation. In his greeting address the Patriarch writes to Metropolitan Filaret: "I wish to express the hope that by the grace of God the canonical order in the area entrusted to you will soon be restored".