Sacred Russia in spotlight

Russia opened an unprecedented exhibit of religious art pulled from across the country and abroad at Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery last week, in a show of Kremlin support for an Orthodox Church growing more powerful since the fall of Communism.

A member of gallery staff passes an exhibit at the Holy Russia exhibition at the Central House of Artists in Moscow. The exhibition, previously held at Paris' Louvre as part of a Russian-French cultural exchange, contains artefacts from the beginning of the spread of Christianity in Russia. 

First Russian church built in Arabian Peninsula

The domes of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Philip the Apostle in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, have been crowned with golden crosses. It is the only Russian church to have been built in the United Arab Emirates and in the whole of the Arabian Peninsula, and the only one to have been crowned with golden crosses, the Moscow Patriarchate said on its website.

DECR chairman makes statement on attacks against Coptic churches in Giza

On May 7-8 in Giza, two Coptic churches were set on fire by radical Muslims. Twelve people were killed and about 200 were injured. In this connection, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's department for external church relations, made the following statement:

It is with deep sorrow that we in the Russian Orthodox Church took the report about the death of Egyptian Christians and setting fire to churches as a result of mass disorders on May 7 and 8, 2011, in Giza. We pray for the repose of the victims of this terrible tragedy and express condolences to their families and friends.

Turkey Cultivates Sites of Its Christian Heritage

Knapsacks shouldered and bibles in hand, a group of Christian pilgrims from Indonesia, China and the United States trooped into the remains of a fourth-century church in ancient Philadelphia last month. Gazing up at the columns that tower over what is today the Turkish market town of Alasehir, the pilgrims listened as their Australian guide read from the Apostle John's letter to the early Christians of this city, one of the biblical Seven Churches of Revelation.

Patriarch Bartholomew I, center, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, conducted a service at the Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, northeastern Turkey, in 2010.

European Council of Religious Leaders to meet in Moscow for the first time

The European Council of Religious Leaders will hold its annual meeting from June 21-23 in Moscow for the first time. As was proposed by the Russian Orthodox Church, the ECRL will consider Human Rights and Traditional Values in Europe.

The ECRL is one of the four regional interreligious councils under the World Conference of Religions for Peace. It unites authoritative religious leaders in Europe including Christians, Jews and Muslims and provides for the participation of other traditional religions represented in the continent. Founded in Oslo in 2002, it consists of 45 members.