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Your Royal Highness,

It is both a joy and an honour to welcome you to our cathedral today.  

Of course, this is by no means your first visit to this church, but it is of great significance that you have chosen to be with us today as we celebrate a special service of prayer giving thanks to God during the 90th birthday year of Her Majesty the Queen.  

For us, the members of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain, the Queen is an inspiration and an example. Her devotion to duty and her unwavering and deep Christian faith have been the foundations of many years of selfless and unfailing service as monarch, in times of both joy and sorrow. 

We wish Her Majesty many more years – многая лета!

This year is also a year of great significance for our own community, as 2016 marks the 300 anniversary of the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain. The high point of our celebrations has been the completion of an extensive renovation of this, our Cathedral, together with the consecration of the newly-restored church a few weeks ago. I am delighted to be able to show you the results of our labours in person today. 

As you are aware, the relationship between our church and the British monarchy goes back centuries, even before the foundation of the first Russian church in London in 1716. Over the years, there have been periods when the political relations between Britain and Russia have been very close, and other times when the relationship has been more challenging. 

Yet both our church and the Queen remain above and beyond the sphere of exclusive political interests. Our church is here for everyone, and our multi-national diocese seeks to welcome all in the spirit of the Gospel. 

The Queen as both ruler and servant of all her subjects, likewise carries out her royal duties in the spirit of self-giving service that Christ teaches. I would ask you to convey our congratulations and respectful greetings to Her Majesty, and assure her of our prayers and good wishes for her good health, long life, peaceful reign and salvation.

Please accept my deep thanks for coming to visit us here today. 

May the Lord remember you in His Kingdom!