Russian Patriarch blesses Yanukovich ahead of inauguration ceremony

Ukraine's next president Viktor Yanukovich has received a blessing from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia at the Kiev Laura of the Caves ahead of the official inauguration ceremony. "May God bless you in your accession to power," the Patriarch told the president-elect. The Church Primate stressed the importance of establishing friendly relations between "component parts of Kievan Rus." "God grants, your undertakings will be aimed at Ukraine's prosperity," the Patriarch said after reading in Ukrainian several lines from the Prayer for Ukraine and giving Yanukovich an image of the Savior as a present.

Primate of the Russian Church points to importance of active Orthodox presence in Asia

In his report to the Bishops' Conference, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia made a special mention of the importance of active efforts for developing Orthodox presence in Asia. Addressing the clergy who assembled on 2 February 2010 at the Councils Hall of the Church of Christ the Saviour, His Holiness gave them the following information: a church dedicated to the Holy Trinity was consecrated in June 2009 in Ulan-Bator. Its foundation stone was laid by Patriarch Kirill in summer 2001 when he was DECR chairman. A church of All Saints was consecrated in Pattaya during the celebration marking the 10th anniversary of Orthodoxy in Thailand in December 2009. The foundation stones were laid for a church of the Trinity in Phuket and a church of the Dormition in Ratchaburi. An Orthodox church of the Dormition of Our Lady as a spiritual memorial to the Russian Orthodox Mission was consecrated last October in the territory of the Russian Embassy in China.

Patriarch Kiril points to positive tendencies in dialogue between Moscow Patriarchate and Roman Catholic Church

‘The positive tendencies, which have begun to show in the dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, have been further developed last year. Joint activities and numerous meetings with representatives of the Catholic Church have confirmed that our positions coincide on many problems the modern world poses before Christians. Among them is the aggressive secularization, globalization, erosion of the norms of traditional morality', His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said in his report to the Bishops' Conference on 2 February 2010. His Holiness noted that the Pope Benedict XVI of Rome has a consistent position close to that of the Orthodox on these issues. ‘Evidence to this are his statements and messages as well as views expressed by high-ranking representatives of the Roman Catholic Church with whom we maintain contacts', His Holiness informed the gathering.

Patriarch Kirill points to the development of dialogue with international organizations

"Taking into consideration the increasing number of decisions important to the entire humanity taken by the UN and other international structures, it is necessary that we, together with non-Orthodox Christians and other traditional religious communities are to strive for the situation in which the positions of believers will be taken into account, when the problems on the global agenda are discussed," His Holiness Patriarch Kirill underscored in his address presented at the Bishops' Conference held in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on 2 February 2010.

Russia acquires land near Eiffel Tower, plans Orthodox center

Russia has defeated Canada and Saudi Arabia in a tender for a plot of land in downtown Paris and will build a spiritual and cultural center on the banks of the Seine River near the Eiffel Tower. France's Budget Ministry said in a statement on Monday that Russia had offered the highest price for the land, but did not elaborate on the figure. The plot of land on the Branly Quay is currently occupied by the French national meteorological service, Meteo France, which is expected to be relocated in 2011.

Archbishop Hilarion takes part in the celebration of the 177th anniversary of the demise of St. Seraphim of Sarov

On 15 January 2010, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for external church relations, took part in the celebration of the 177th anniversary of the demise of St. Seraphim of Sarov at the Convent of the Holy Trinity and St. Seraphim in Diveyevo. Also taking part in the festive divine service led by Metropolitan Varnava of Cheboksary and Chuvashia were Archbishops Anastasy of Kazan and Tatarstan, Georgy of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas, Dimitry of Vitebsk and Orsha, Bishops Iosif of Ivanovo-Voznesensk and Kineshma and Veniamin of Lubertsy. Praying at the service were hegumeness Sergia (Konkova), sisters of the Convent, and hegumenesses and sisters of other convents.

We are not prepared to talk either of concrete time of the meeting between the Patriarch of Moscow and the Pope

On 12 January 2009, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk met with the Russian and foreign journalists at the Department for external church relations that he chairs and answered, inter alia, a question about the relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

The journalists were interested in prospects of a personal meeting of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia with the Pope of Rome Benedict XVI.