On 8 July 2020, His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Great Antioch and All the East, met with Hegumen Arseniy (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarchal See of Antioch, at the Patriarchate of Antioch located in the old part of Damascus.
In the beginning of their long talk, His Beatitude thanked the Russian Orthodox Church and its Primate, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, for fraternal support given to the Orthodox Church of Antioch at a time so hard for it and for all the Syrian people. At present, with the help of the Russian Orthodox Church, two ruined churches and an Orthodox school near the Syrian capital city are being restored.
Then His Beatitude John X and Hegumen Arseniy discussed details of further help that could be rendered to the Syrian Orthodox Christians by the Russian Orthodox Church.
They also talked about the cooperation between the two sister Orthodox Churches in church education. His Beatitude expressed deep appreciation to the Russian Orthodox Church and its Primate and to the rector of the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post Graduate Studies, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, and to the rector of St. Petersburg Theological Academy, Bishop Siluan of Petergof, for giving Syrian students an opportunity to be trained at such authoritative educational institutions of the Russian Orthodox Church. On his part, Father Arseniy expressed the hope that the training of Russian students at the Theological School at the University of Balamand will be continued as well. His Beatitude John X assured him that the door of this higher education school would be always open to Russian Orthodox students and already in the coming academic year the University of Balamand would be ready to enrol two or three students from Russia or other countries in the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church if the epidemiological situation in the Lebanese Republic will be favourable and if the air traffic between Russia and Lebanon will be resumed.
Present at the meeting was also Bishop Ephrem of Seleucia, secretary of the Synod of the Orthodox Church of Antioch.