of the Republic conferring the Cross of St Mary's
Land on His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew on October
Archbishop John of Karelia and all Finland,
Metropolitan Meliton of Philadelphia,
Very reverend brethren,
Ladies and gentlemen,
visits of the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch to different parts of the
world are always followed closely by the public. The
reason for this is Your personal devotion to the solution
of the problems of this world. Your visit to Estonia
is also a token of love and consideration for our
people and our culture. Your caring for the Estonian
Orthodox believers has been confirmed many times.
You have sent your best bishop to this difficult field
and I can only gratefully state that he has by today
achieved much in building up the church.
understanding of the continuity of cultural traditions
was also manifest in the canonisation of the martyr
bishop Plato, who is the very first Estonian saint
in our cultural tradition. The Orthodox thank You
for this, and so do I. To care for a church means
above all to shape its spiritual features. The confirmation
of traditions through canonical and liturgical acts
is like answering the prayers of the faithful, where
we can see God's everyday work with His congregation.
I know that the Estonian Orthodox Church has a decoration
issued in honour of martyr bishop Plato. This Order
of St Plato that was conferred on the Greek President
Constantinos Stephanopoulos during his recent visit
to Estonia. By this act, the Estonian saint and also
the Orthodox here in Estonia introduced themselves
to the world. I know this is a proud feeling.
Patriarchate of Constantinople, known for its successful
environmental symposiums, has a delightful message
for Estonians - the next symposium will be dedicated
to the problems of the Baltic Sea. I once more wish
to confirm my consent to be a patron of this event.
Let this be a token of my gratitude to You and the
whole patriarchate for the consideration towards Estonia
You have demonstrated. The Church in modern times
is aware of the social needs that cannot be ignored
by an ordinary member of the congregation, whether
they be environmental problems, problems of the social
sphere, education or church policy. The church is
just as social as each member of its congregation.
Several economic, canonical and political hardships
that the Estonian Orthodox believers have had to tackle
within the last years have made your church flexible
and endowed it with life force. You have let all levels
of the society, from local governments to the Prime
Minister and the President, know that You are there
and carry on your struggle, making them care for the
fate and progress of Your church. And this is as it
should be. Our Constitution provides that the state
is separated from the church, but it has never been
said that the church should be separated from the
state. The church is part of the state. It grows with
the state, and cares for its members likewise. If
necessary, the church will, like Sir Thomas More,
or Archbishop Becket of Canterbury contest the unethical
dictate of the state. When state officials tend to
forget about ethics, it is the church leaders who
must refresh their memory.
the big religions of the world are called upon to
increase religious tolerance, so that the followers
of Abraham and Mohammed, Jesus and Buddha could together
speak of brotherly love without keeping their swords
ready at hand. The Ecumenical movement should be especially
close to the heart of the Ecumenical patriarch, and
I am convinced that New Rome shall be its abundant
the services you have rendered and for the services
I am certain You will be rendering to Estonia I have
the great honour to bestow on You the Cross of Terra
Mariana. This name in turn refers back to the time
829 years ago when this land was named after the Mother
of God. It is therefore very fitting that this cross
will now be bestowed on the Archbishop of Constantinople,
New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch.
of the Republic at the Reception Hosted by the Estonian
Apostolic Orthodox Church on October 31, 2000, in
All Holiness, honourable Patriarch Bartholomew,
Ladies and gentlemen,
have now spent five busy days in Estonia. You have
visited different corners of our country and seen
the ecclesiastical life both in the capital and in
the counties. I hope that your visit met the expectations
you had of this little spot of land in its northern
serenity. I know that during your journey here, you
have met most of our leading statesmen, and that the
meetings have been friendly. This shows that your
auxiliaries have been doing a good job. In a complicated
canonical and church policy situation, they have managed
to straighten their rows and their positions and to
present a clear image of the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox
Church. This is a considerable accomplishment.
also know there is a large fallow field that the church
still has to plough. I wish the entire church strength
and patience, as the gifts you have been given are
like the talents that must be used skilfully. Most
of all, I wish your church to have a name supported
by mercy and social sensitivity. Then, people will
come to you and grow with you. I wish your church
strength and stamina in arranging the seminar and
founding the monastery, as education and spiritual
enlightenment are pillars of strength - for you and
also for the future of Estonia.
is a proverb that says: you cannot take your law to
another monastery. In the current church policy situation,
some people have unfortunately forgotten this rule.
Besides pressure to neighbour churches, there is also
indifference to laws that are common for everyone.
Your visit to Estonia has brought clarity also in
this respect, and we are grateful for the openness
for compromise that should bring mitigation.
I would like to thank you and your church here in
Estonia for your sympathy, for your prayers and wreaths
to commemorate the victims of the massacre of 1905.
Ninety-five years ago, the Russian Empire ordered
fire to be opened on the common inhabitants of Tallinn
who claimed their right to become citizens. We are
touched by your consideration. I believe that the
citizens of Estonia will respond with equal consideration
to the needs and the growing of the church.
us now raise our glasses to His Holiness and thank
him for his consideration. To the glory of the church
and the progress of faith!