The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church will include His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations; and archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR vice-chairman.
The Russian Orthodox Church has always taken and continues to take an active part in the Pre-Council process, notwithstanding a number of difficulties pertaining to the preparation of the Pan-Orthodox Council. Since the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church needs to participate personally in the Synaxis over the whole period of its work, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will not be able to lead the opening ceremony of the Christmas Readings on January 25.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill is expected to take part in the Christmas parliamentary meetings, due to be held at the Council of the Federation on January 29.
On January 25, the opening day of the Christmas Readings, Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna will officiate at the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow upon the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church conveys his blessing to all the participants in the Christmas Readings, a public forum of Church-wide importance.