His Holiness Patriarch Kyrril of Moscow and All Russia came on July 26, 2011 in an official visit to Ukraine. On Tuesday afternoon the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church met with the President of Ukraine Mr. V. F. Yanukovich in the presidential summer residence in Crimea. In the evening His Holiness arrive in Kiev.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill urged European religious leaders to make collective efforts to pursue the revival of Christianity within the continent.
"The Russian Orthodox Church proposes that European Christian communities unite to become partners of the states and European civil community in pursuing the revival of tangible connection between the human rights concept and the pan-European spiritual heritage," the Patriarch said at the Moscow meeting of the European Council of Religious Leaders.
According to him, only economic and political ties in Europe cannot be "a sustainable basis for the well-being of European community" and existing social values of human rights and rule of law and democracy may remain just "the forms which are unlikely to benefit in the conditions of moral relativism and sometimes may even cause harm."
On July 17, 2011, the commemoration day of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers, Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the church of Our Lady the Joy to All the Afflicted in Moscow. He was assisted by the parish clergy and ordained staff members of the DECR. Among his concelebrants was also Rev. Dionisy Kazantsev, rector of the church of St. John the Theologian in Campina das Missioes, Brazil.
The Istanbul Municipality and the provincial administration have joined efforts to restore the Bulgarian "St. Stefan" church.
According to Hurriyet Daily News, "the parts of the church that have become dirty and sooty will be cleaned thoroughly with detergent water, while the missing ornaments on the façade will be replicated using original material. The crooked parts of the roof will also be renewed."
The Israeli authorities have opened free access to for tourists and pilgrims to the place on the Jordan River at Kasr Al-Yahud, a site sacred to Christians all over the world, where, according to the Gospels, our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized.
Previously, special permission and agreements were required from the military in order to visit the site of Christ's baptism. This will no longer be necessary.