Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, Patriarchal Exarch of Africa, greets rector and parishioners of the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Johannesburg on the occasion of its patronal feast.
To Archpriest Daniil Lugovoy, Rector of the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Johannesburg, and its parishioners
Dear Father Daniil, brothers and sisters,
Please accept my heartfelt greetings on the patronal feast of your church!
The Venerable Sergius of Radonezh left the world to live alone with God. Yet, the Lord did not leave that candle under a bushel, making its light shine throughout the Russian land. Saint Sergius could not even imagine that over time he would be joined by disciples and a monastery would grow at the site of his cell to later become a great Lavra, spiritual heart of the Russian Orthodox Church. Christ says, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (Jn 12:24). It was not from people that Sergius of Radonezh fled but from the vanity of this world, for in his soul he wished ardently to abide in the presence of God all the time. And later when the Lord revealed his ascetic feat to people and they started coming to him, the innermost peace the saint had gained began to permeate among them. The life of St. Sergius teaches us that before becoming useful to others and getting the right to edify them, a person needs to find in his/her inner self those spiritual treasures that enter our heart through prayer and contemplation of God.
For six centuries now, pilgrims have been flocking to the shrine containing the relics of this saint pleasing unto God, caring and praying for the Russian land. His holy relics are a precious treasure, a source of blessed bodily and spiritual healing for all those seeking his intercession.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the consecration of your church, and on the day of its patronal feast I prayerfully wish you spiritual joy in the Lord, His generous help in your work, as well as strength, peace and longevity.
Invoking God’s blessing upon you,
+LEONID, Metropolitan of Klin, Patriarchal Exarch of Africa