Meeting the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus at the Sheremetievo airport were Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations (DECR); Metropolitan Athanasius of Kyrenaica, representative of the Patriarch of Alexandria to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Archbishop Mark of Yegorievsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Management of Institutions Abroad; archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR deputy chairman; Rev. Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for Inter-Orthodox relations; H.T. Petros Kestoras, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cyprus to the Russian Federation; and Prof. Valery Alekseyev, president of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations.
The Primate of the Orthodox Church in America was met at the gates by Archbishop Yevgeniy of Vereya, rector of the Moscow Theological Schools. Metropolitan Jonah venerated the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh in the Cathedral of the Trinity and other holy sites of the Laura, and saw the exhibits of the Church Archeological Museum at the Moscow Theological Academy.
The Feast of Theophany in Berat (photo gallery)
The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace (Ps. 28:11).
PATRIARCHAL ADDRESS ON THE NEW YEAR
Dear Children of our Holy Church,
Beloved in the Lord children of our Church,
We glorify and sing praises unto our highly generous and most merciful heavenly Father, as He has been preserving us by His graceful providence during the year which passed away in peace, keeping us in safety and protecting us from every harm and destruction, maintaining us consolidated in our faith and diligent in good works and patient along the way of truth and justice. The days past however sink not into oblivion and our responsibility binding us to the course of these days makes for our feeling great satisfaction about every success we have achieved as well as for our feeling high regret over every failure we have experienced in the hard struggle against the worldly passions and temptations. The New Year's Eve is distinguished not only by noisy celebrations, for we refer to it also as time of detailed reconsideration of all the past months as well as of an exciting coming together the new annual ring which we are to join regenerated and pure in heart (cf. Math.5:8) in order to experience the new creation (cf. Gal. 6:15).
6 January 2011, over 3000 faithful were present at the Patriarchal Hill. His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel celebrated the Great Consecration of the Holy Water in front of the Patriarchal Residence, together with His Grace Ciprian Campineanul and His Grace Varlaam Ploiesteanul, Assistant Bishops to the Patriarch, assisted by a group of priests and deacons. As every year, on the eve on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, an ice cross was put in the courtyard of the Patriarchal Cathedral, about three metres high, decorated with flowers, fir branches and basil.