May 21, 2013
On 21 May 2013, a solemn Easter reception was held at the mansion of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia was met by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Moscow Synodal choir conducted by Alexei Puzakov, honoured artist of Russia, sang Paschal hymns.
Among those attending the reception were Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Administrative Secretariat; archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, chairman of the Synodal Department for Church-Society relations; Mr. Vladimir Legoida, chairman of the Synodal Information Department; archpriest Nikolai Balashov and archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov), DECR vice-chairmen; DECR secretaries and staff members.
Also attending the reception were representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, including Metropolitan Athanasios of Kyrenaika (Orthodox Church of Alexandria), Archimandrite Stephanos (Orthodox Church of Jerusalem), archimandrite Feoktist (Bulgarian Orthodox Church), and archpriest Alexiy Yurchenko (Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia), as well as archimandrite Vakhtang (Georgian Orthodox Church), who takes spiritual care for the community of the Moscow church of St. George the Victorious.
Representatives of state authorities and Russian public organizations, scholars, intellectuals, foreign diplomats, and representatives of non-Orthodox Christian Churches and traditional religious communities of Russia attended the reception.
All those present were greeted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who spoke, inter alia, about violence against Christians in many countries and critical situation in Syria. The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church called the world community to exert every effort to stop bloodshed and support open public dialogue aimed at the defence of peace and stability.
His Holiness called global economic crisis, which has affected many countries and even regions, another challenge being rooted also in spiritual realm. The healing of human souls would help to overcome the crisis.
Patriarch Kirill told those present about the main events in the external activities of the Russian Orthodox Church, including his recent visit to China, the first ever made by Russian patriarch. He mentioned the upcoming 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, reminding the audience that celebration of its millennium twenty-five years ago has heralded a new period in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church and adding that the anniversary will be widely celebrated in the three capitals: Moscow, Kiev and Minsk. Heads of the Local Orthodox Church have been invited to attend.
In conclusion, His Holiness thanked the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Lavrov for hospitality.