MOSCOW, July 17 (Itar-Tass) - Close historical ties between the Russian and Serbian peoples should be the base for overcoming the modern times’ challenges that Orthodoxy faces, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said.
At the meeting with Patriarch Irinej of Serbia on Wednesday, Patriarch Kirill said he is glad that the Serbian patriarch’s visit “coincides with the celebrations marking the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus”.
The festivities will take place in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and the Serbian patriarch will be able to take part in them, the Russian patriarch said.
“Special historical relationship unites our Churches,” Patriarch Kirill said. “We are successors of the common Slavic spiritual and cultural tradition that date back to Saints Cyril and Methodius,” he added.
The Russian patriarch said the prayer’s language created by Saints Cyril and Methodius “unite our peoples”.
At the same time, the patriarch said common joy and common mourning united the Russian and Serbian peoples starting the liberation of the Balkans by Russian troops in the beginning of the 20th century when the Serbian Church accepted Russian refugees in the post-Revolutionary times.
In his words, the joint services will help think what should be done to make “God’s blessing to be with us”.
Patriarch Irinej said, “Today the Russian people play a big role in the world.” He stressed that the visit “should strengthen our spiritual relationship to facilitate the development of cooperation and work out a common position to solve our problems”. He mentioned about the difficult situation of Orthodox believers in Kosovo and Metohija.
The delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church arrived in Moscow on Tuesday evening. On July 17, the delegation will visit the Church of St Nicholas in Tolmachi, where the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God is kept, and the New Monastery of the Saviour. The Russian and Serbian patriarchs will pay tribute to the tsar family, which was assassinated 95 years ago. In addition, Patriarch Irinej will also visit the Tretyakov Gallery.
The Russian and Serbian patriarch will also conduct the joint service in memory of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh.
The Serbian patriarch’s visit will last till July 30.