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Patriarch of Antioch and all East to make first visit to Moscow in almost 30 years

November 07, 2015, 6:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Syriac Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian denominations in the Middle East

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© L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP

MOSCOW, November 6. /TASS/. Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, the ruling hierarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church Ignatius Aphrem II Karim is expected to make a visit to Moscow from November 9 through November 13, Moscow Patriarchate's information department said on Friday.

"The head of the Syriac Church is to make the first visit to Russia after his accession to the patriarchal see," it said. "The previous such visit took place in 1988 when the Syriac Patriarch Mar Igantius Zakka I Iwas took part in the festivities on the occasion of millennium since the baptizing of Kievan Rus."

His Beatitude Ignatius Aphrem II is expected to have talks with the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I, as well as meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the chairman of foreign policy committee in the State Duma, Dr. Alexei Pushkov.

The Syriac Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian denominations in the Middle East. The greater part of its communities are located in Syria and Iraq, where Christians have faced harsh persecutions in recent years.

Russia has responded to the tragedy the Syrian people is going through by assistance in the struggle against extremists who terrorize civilian population and subject the Christians to hair-raising ordeals.

Still unknown is the plight of two highly respected Syrian hierarchs Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo and Metropolitan Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim who were abducted by Syrian militants in 2013.

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