MOSCOW, July 06. /ITAR-TASS/. Metropolitan Ilarion, the head of the external relations department of the Moscow Patriarchate, arrived on Sunday to Kiev to take part in the funeral of late Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine who died in Kiev at the age of 78 on July 5, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, a deputy head of the external church relations department, told Itar-Tass.
Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine died on Saturday in a Kiev hospital from cancer at the age of 78. He will be buried at the monastery cemetery of the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos near the Far Caves of the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, also known as Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, on July 7.
Although Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill is mourning over the death of Metropolitan Vladimir and would like to “pay last respects to this man, one of the oldest hierarchs, it was decided to delegate Metropolitan Ilarion to Kiev,” Archpriest Nikolai said. “Due to the current situation in Ukraine, the arrival of the patriarch might be used as a pretext for another outbreak of radical forces.” He said there was some information on that matter. “Although Ukrainian believers are waiting for Patriarch Kirill and are a happy to receive him, but even the slightest demonstration of the radicals would be inadmissible,” he stressed.
In May, when Metropolitan Ilarion arrived in Ukraine’s Dnepropetrovsk to present a church award to the local bishop, border guards at the Dnepropetrovsk airport did not let him enter the country, providing no explanation.