Moscow, 20 march 2012
Your Eminences and Graces,
Dear Brothers in Christ:
With profound grief I have learnt about the demise of His Holiness Patriarch Shenouda III who has carried out zealous service as Patriarch of the Coptic Church for over forty years. The entire Christian world has been bereaved of an outstanding theologian and inspired preacher who for so long headed the confessor Church.
The deceased First Hierarch has rendered truly great services both to the Coptic Church and to the entire Christendom. His tireless efforts to build the church life of the Coptic diaspora and to struggle for the rights of the Christian minority in Egypt, his sincere search for mutual understanding with other Christian Churches, his numerous theological works and sermons have gained him well-deserved authority throughout the world.
We give a high value to the works of the deceased Patriarch Shenouda III. Remembering with love and warmth our last meeting during my visit to Egypt in April 2010, I testify to the sincere and cordial attitude of the deceased to the Russian Orthodox Church. Our Church, on her part, has invariably and consistently supported Egyptian Christians who have been systematically subjected to persecution and respectfully recognized the contribution of the Coptic Church to the preservation of traditional Egyptian monasticism and spiritual culture. I am convinced of the need to continue our cooperation for the sake of establishing peace and justice in the Middle East and in the world and protecting the rights of Christians wherever they are violated.
May the All-Merciful Lord give rest to the soul of His servant His Holiness Patriarch Shenouda. Eternal memory be to him!
With love in Christ,
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
March 18, 2012