Many personalities from the political, cultural, and religious world attended the ceremony. Among these, besides Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, were Archbishop Mikhail (Donskov), Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, the vice president of the deputy chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Hegumen Theophane (Lukyanov).
Before the beginning of the ceremony, Metropolitan Hilarion blessed the building housing the museum.
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Metropolitan Hilarion, I.Shchegolev, Mrs. Natalia Solzhenitsyn, and V. Moskvin cut the symbolic ribbon in front of the museum entrance.
Then the participants and guests visited the exhibition. On this occasion, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk pronounced the following speech:
“On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and on my own behalf, I warmly greet all the participants in the ceremony of the Museum of the Russian diaspora. Today, the welcoming “Alexander Solzhenitsyn” Museum of the Russian Diaspora gathered representatives of the Russian Government, of the city of Moscow, heads of organizations of our compatriots, some of which are international, prominent representatives of society, religious personalities, researchers and journalists.
I particularly enjoy seeing brothers and sisters coming from abroad, whose names are closely related to the history of Russian emigration in the first quarter of the 20th century. Today, we prayed, and blessed this museum and its efforts to gathering and preserve for the following generations, historical testimonies, and documents evoking the life abroad of Russian nationals. Dramatic events: the October 1917 revolution, and the ensuing civil war, the orientation of the new Soviet power in the construction of society, in which there would be no place for religion. This caused the exodus abroad of the Russian population. The constraint of separating from the motherland caused difficult experiences and pain for our brothers and sisters. All the more felt with the breakdown in families and family relationships. It became a tragedy for our people. And today, it is still difficult for us to assess the irretrievable losses that our country suffered, deprived as it was of many personalities rich in spiritual experience, creative and with a high level of education.
The tragedy of dispersal did not spare the Russian Orthodox Church, as many clergy were also forced to share the fate of the exiled. I particularly appreciate that, in this now open museum, the exhibition dedicated to the Church abroad has found its proper place. It includes photographs and historical documents related to the lives of hierarchs, of clergy, and of many pious lay people who worked for the establishment of ecclesial life in Russian emigration.
Their difficult ministry and labors testified to Christian sacrificial love for those in need of pastoral care. The Church could not leave her flock, that’s why she shared with them all their troubles and tribulations.
Thanks to the Orthodox faith, to their willingness to embody the evangelical ideals in their lives, to follow the precepts of our ancestors, our compatriots managed to preserve their civilizational identity, their mother tongue, and the culture of their ancestors.
All this formed the phenomenon of the Russian dispersion, which gos beyond the concept of diaspora or community, but constitutes a consolidated space of values. Only a people strong in spirit can produce similar phenomena. It is precisely such a quality that was characteristic of Russian emigrants.
The museum opened today is called to make us feel the spirit and atmosphere of the time, and to make us understand the thoughts and expectations of our compatriots. It must become the place of meetings and contacts between people who sincerely love their homeland. Regardless of where they live, in Russia or abroad, the place not only of past memories, but also to build up the future of our country and of our people. I strongly believe in the success of this project and in its value for future generations.
I wish you, dear Viktor Alexandrovich, and all the museum’s collaborators, success in your future work. May the Lord keep you all!”.
Source in Russian (with picture)