Some 15,000 Orthodox Christian pilgrims carried crosses, drank holy water and prayed on Friday at a hill in eastern Poland they believe to be sacred in a colourful celebration of their faith and identity in the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country.
The Moscow government has selected 200 land sites to build Russian Orthodox churches, First Vice Mayor Vladimir Resin said on Ekho Moskvy radio.
"Land sites have been picked for 200 churches already and construction is underway on 19," Resin said.
The construction is being funded by non-budgetary sources, on donations being accumulated in a special fund, he added.
With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, a Russian Orthodox Church delegation led by Archbishop Mark of Yegorievsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s office for institutions abroad, visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for celebrations marking the 5th anniversary of the consecration of the Trinity Church in Pyongyang.
Russian state and Russian Orthodox Church began a cooperative project of building of the 200 new churches in Moscow, says the website Orthodoxy and the World. This is the largest joint venture in Russia's recent history.
The preparation of documentation, determination of construction sites, construction coordination and regulation of methods of financing the construction are in progress. To run this project, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has appointed Bishop Tikhon of Podole, who is also the president of the Financial Administration of the Moscow Patriarchate.
More than thousand Greeks, mostly from Europe and America, whose ancestors after the First World War were driven out of Turkey from the Asia Minor's region of Pontus, are on the way to an ancient monastery of "Theotokos of Sumela", where Patriarch Bartolomew will serve on Monday the liturgy on the feast day of the Dormition of the Theotokos according to the new calendar.