On 15 December 2012, the 28th Week after Pentecost, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), visited the Church of St. Nicholas in Istanbul at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. He prayed together with His Holiness at Matins and at the Divine Liturgy celebrated by archimandrite Bessarion (Komzias), the great hierokiriks of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Antioch has elected a new Patriarch of Great Antioch and All the East. The elections took place in the Balamand Monastery of the Most Holy Mother of God in Lebanon. Taking part in the voting were 18 hierarchs. Metropolitan Youhanna (Yaziji) of Western and Central Europe has been elected the 139th Primate of the Orthodox Church of Antioch.
His Beatitude Youhanna X, Patriarch of the Great City of God Antioch, Cilicia, Iberia, Mesopotamia and All the East, was born in 1966 in Latakia, Syria. In 1978 he graduated from the St. John of Damascus Orthodox Theological Institute at the Balamand Monastery. In 1983 he earned the degree of Doctor of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
The memorial service for Patriarch Ignatius of Antioch served on Sunday, 9 December 2012, at Saint Nicholas Cathedral church in Beirut
Officiating at the funeral service in the Cathedral of St Nicholas the Wonderworker in Beirut were His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, and His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania. Taking part in the funeral service were also delegations of the Local Orthodox Churches, led by Metropolitan Nicholas of Hermopolis (Patriarchate of Alexandria), Metropolitan Benedict of Philadelphia (Patriarchate of Jerusalem), Metropolitan Stephan of Tsageri and Lentekhi (Patriarchate of Georgia), Bishop Antonije of Moravicí (Serbian Patriarchate), Archbishop Casian of Lower Danube (Romanian Patriarchate), Metropolitan Ioannis of Langadas (Greek Orthodox Church), and Bishop Irénée of Quebec (Orthodox Church in America).
A delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church led by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), arrived in Beirut on 8 December 2012 with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to attend funeral ceremonies for His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Patriarch of the Great Antioch and All the East. The delegation includes archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR deputy chairman; hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), a DECR staff member; and Mr. Leonid Sevastianov, executive director of the St. Gregory the Theologian Charity Foundation.
Metropolitan Saba (Esper) was elected Locum Tenens of the throne of the patriarchs of Antioch. The appointment came on Friday, 7 December 2012, during a meeting at Balamand monastery, some 85 kilometers north of Beirut. Metropolitan Saba has jurisdiction over the south areas of Syria. Lebanese leaders announced Sunday as an official day of mourning over the patriarch’s death and described Hazim’s death as a loss for Lebanon and the region.
In 2010-2011, the Russian government has voluntarily contributed 2 million US dollars to the UNESCO to finance the restoration of Orthodox holy sites in Kosovo, Republic of Serbia.
The decision was taken in compliance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 on Kosovo and within the UNESCO international action on humanitarian aid to the Republic of Serbia in restoration and maintaining its monuments of culture.