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MOSCOW, January 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Patriarch John X of Antioch will pay his first official visit to Russia on January 25-30 to discuss the position of civilian population in Syria and persecution of Christians in the Middle East, a source at the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate told Itar-Tass on Monday.
“Patriarch John X of Antioch will pay his first visit to Russia as the Primate of the Church of Antioch on January 25-30 at the invitation of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. The patriarchs will conduct joint church services,” Protopriest Igor Yakimchuk, the secretary for relations among Orthodox churches of the Department of External Church Relations, told Itar-Tass.
Patriarch John X of Antioch will also attend the opening of Christmas readings in the Kremlin Palace and will visit Russian holy sites at the Holy Trinity- St. Sergius Lavra and the Moscow monasteries.
He noted that the catastrophic situation of Christians in the Middle East who are worst hit by the war would be central to the agenda. The sides will also discuss the delivery of fresh shipments of relief aid to Syria.
Patriarch John X of Antioch whose pulpit is based in Damascus becomes a daily witness of new manifestations of harsh persecution of god believers, abductions and murders of clergymen and destruction of holy relics by extremists.
For example, terrorists abducted Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo, the brother of John X the Antioch, in April 2013. Nothing has been known about his fate until recently.
Patriarch John X of Antioch will also meet members of the Arab community in Moscow.
Patriarch John X of Antioch was enthroned on December 17, 2012 after the death of his predecessor Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch.