On June 27-28, 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), continued his pilgrimage in the steps of St. Paul.
Passing through Drama, Metropolitan Hilarion paid a visit to Metropolitan Pavlos of Drama, saw the Cathedral of the Transfiguration under construction and other churches and church establishments of the metropolis.
Together with his fellow travellers, he saw the archaeological monuments in the antique cities of Philippi and Neapolis (modern Kavala), the first places in Europe to hear St. Paul’s preaching of the gospel.
Philippi is associated with the story in the Acts of the Apostles about the baptism of Lidya (Acts 13-15), which is marked today by a baptistery, and about the healing of a female slave who was possessed with an evil spirit and St. Paul’s and his companion Silas’s imprisonment and miraculous deliverance (Acts. 22-23). The remains of that prison have survived to this day.
In the Metropolis of Philippi, Metropolitan Hilarion was welcomed by Metropolitan Stephanos of Pilippi, Neapolis and Tassos. Accompanied by Metropolitan Stephanos, Metropolitan Hilarion visited the St. Silas Monastery, the church of the Dormition and the St. Paul Cathedral built on the spot where the apostle preached in Kavala (Neapolis).