Metropolitan Hilarion in Banja Luka
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk on 16 November 2012 , with the blessing of His Holiness Irinej, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, arrived in an official visit to the Republic of Srpska. At the Banjaluka Airport the high guest and his delegation were welcomed by: His Grace Bishop Jefrem of Banja Luka, Mr. Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in BiH, as well as representatives of the state authorities of the Republic of Srpska.
The same day, at the Palace of the Republic, Mr. Milorad Dodik, the President of the Republic of Srpska, received Metropolitan Hilarion and expressed immense gratitude to the Russian Orthodox Church for the support to the Serbian people. Also the President informed the Metropolitan with the actual political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Following the meeting with Mr. Dodik Metropolitan Hilarion visited the Cathedral church of the Christ the Saviour where he learned about the history of the restoration of this church. Later on, the guests visited the Russian Cultural Centre in Banja Luka.
The solemn doxology to Metropolitan Hilarion was celebrated at the church of Holy Trinity at 6 p.m. Bishop Jefrem of Banja Luka, the local clergy and deacons with many believers gathered at the church to welcome the guests.
With regards to the decision of His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion awarded His Grace Bishop Jefrem of Banja Luka, the highest order of the Russian Orthodox Church, the order of Venerable Sergius of the II Degree. According to the act of Patriarch Kyrill, Bishop Jefrem received this order for his significant help in the expansion of fraternal relations and relations between the Serbian and Russian Orthodox Church.
At the Episcopal Palace hierarchs continued brotherly conversation during which Bishop Jefrem presented the icon of the Most Holy Mother of God the Three-Handed to Metropolitan Hilarion.
Source: Diocese of Banja Luka, photo: mospat.ru