MOSCOW, April 23 (Itar-Tass) — Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill will lead paschal services in Sofia and Plovdiv this week to commemorate Russian soldiers, who fell for the freedom of this Balkan nation, together with Bulgarian Christians, the patriarch’s press service told Itar-Tass on Monday.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church will visit Bulgaria from April 27 to 29 at the invitation of Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria and the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
“During the visit the heads of the Russian and Bulgarian Orthodox Churches will hold joint worships in the cathedrals in Sofia and Plovdiv. Patriarch Kirill will meet compatriots at a Russian church in Sofia. He will also honor the memory of Russian soldiers at memorials in Plovdiv,” the press service went on to say.
Patriarch Kirill is expected to meet senior government officials of the Republic of Bulgaria.
Metropolitan Kirill of Varna earlier said in an interview with Itar-Tass correspondent in Sofia that relations between the Russian and Bulgarian people should be seen through the prism of common faith and tradition.
“They are based on Christian love and genuine spirit of brotherhood. Together, we’ve withstood many trials, enough to preserve our faith. Moreover, apart from the Church, our peoples are linked with common history. The visit of Patriarch Kirill will help strengthening our ties,” the metropolitan emphasized.
The first official commemoration of two Slavonic enlighteners, Saint Apostles Cyril and Methodius, was held in Plovdiv on May 11, 1858. Later, this day became a holiday of Slavonic Alphabet and Culture marked on May 24 (new style). Russia has been celebrating the holiday for the past 15 years.