MOSCOW, August 20. /TASS/. Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa has arrived on Thursday in Russia’s Soloveky Islands in the White sea as part of his pilgrimage tour, the website of the Arkhangelsk Metropolitan District of the Russian Orthodox Church has reported.
"It is a great pleasure for me to visit Solovetsky Islands," the patriarch told reporters. "I used to live in your country for more than 10 years. I love Russia very much, my heart is here, with you."
The unofficial visit of the primate of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Alexandria will last until August 29, a source in the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate told TASS.
"The program of the patriarch’s pilgrimage includes a visit to Solovetsky Monastery, the Irkutsk and Yekaterinburg Dioceses," the source said.
Patriarch Theodoros II is also expected to meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
The Eastern Orthodox Church of Alexandria is one of the world’s 15 local Orthodox churches having the African continent as its canonical territory. According to a legend, it was founded by St.Mark the Evangelist. Currently it has about 6 million followers.
Russia has a permanent mission of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Alexandria in the Church of All Saints in Moscow.