His Holiness Patriarch Kirill visited the Iveron Monastery, celebrated a prayer service and venerated the Iveron icon of the Mother of God, also called Panagia Portaitissa (Gate-keeper) at the chapel.
Hegumen of the monastery, archimandrite Nathanael welcomed His Holiness and said that the exact copy of the wonderworking icon could be found in central Moscow. “Panagia Portaitissa has become the heart of Holy Rus,’ while we have become brothers, as we have her as our common mother and intercessor. While in Moscow, we feel at home, and when we receive pilgrims here, and first of all You, Your Holiness, we feel that we receive our brothers at home?” he added.
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church addressed the hegumen and the brethren. He spoke at length about the history of the icon and also about the return of its first copy to the Church a year ago by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal instruction after the Patriarch’s request. The icon is now at its original place, at the Novodevichy Convent in Moscow. The return was a great event: many people, including myself and the President, met the icon in solemn procession of the cross, and now thousands of believers can venerate the miraculous copy of the Iberian icon of the Mother of God.
On 5 June 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and his suite at Mount Athos visited the Monastery of Pantocrator.
After the prayer service, hegumen of the monastery, archimandrite Gabriel said to His Holiness: “We are happy to see you standing before the icon of our Mother, the intercessor and protector from any evil, Panagia Gerontissa, which means the Elder… We wish Your Holiness to be always protected by Her in your ministry to the vineyard of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Οn Saturday, June 1, 2013, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, together with members of the Holy and Sacred Synod and other Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne, welcomed His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch to the Phanar. Patriarch John of Antioch was making his first stop in his Irenic Visitations following his election last December.
On June 4, 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, during his stay on Mount Athos, met with members of the Epistasia, the executive body of Holy Mount Athos.
The Primate of the Russian Church was welcomed by Protoepistat Fr. Maxim and representatives of the Athonite monasteries. Among the welcoming party was also Metropolitan Apostolos of Miletus, representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on Holy Mount Athos.
On June 4, 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia arrived on Holy Mount Athos, accompanied by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s administrative secretariat, and Schiarchimandrite Iliy (Nozdrin).
Among the welcoming part were Athos Governor Aristos Kasmiroglou, Presidential Envoy for the Russian Federation Central Region A. Beglov, and Chairman of the State Duma committee for the CIS and relations with compatriots, L. Slutsky.
Among those who met Patriarch Kirill were also Archbishop Feognost, abbot of St. Sergius’ Monastery of the Holy Trinity, V. Legoida, head of the synodal information department, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR vice-chairman, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations, Protodeacon Vladimir Nazarkin, assistant to the DECR chairman, and M. Kuksov, head of the patriarchal personal secretariat.