The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church met for an extended session on 24 November 2009 at the assembly hall of the Kiev Monastery of the Caves. It was chaired by His Beatitude Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine. Opening the session, Metropolitan Vladimir said that a good tradition developed in recent years to hold at the end of each year a special Synodal session open to the public so that annual reports of the Synodal departments and commissions may be heard and evaluated.
Bishop Gregorios of Mesaoria, director of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus's office for inter-church relations and European affairs, who is in Moscow for the 5th International Pilgrimage Conference, visited on November 26 the Moscow Patriarchate's department for external church relations. He was received by Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR vice-chairman, on behalf of the DECR chairman, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk.
Archbishop Hilarion: The majority of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine stay in the fold of the canonical Orthodox Church30. November 2009 - 9:17
On 24 November 2009, Archbishop Hilarion, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, arrived in the Cherkassy diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at the invitation of Metropolitan Sofrony of Cherkassy and Kanev. On November 25, Archbishop Hilarion celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Ascension in the village of Melniki. In his sermon, he spoke about the division among Orthodox Christians in the Ukraine and noted that they have been caused by human passions and political slogans. "Beware of pastors who leave the Church and set up their graceless communities, thus bringing confusion to the souls of common people. They put a church attire, but Christ does not act through their hands. There are no sacraments in these communities," Archbishop Hilarion underscored.
A round-table conference on Cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and UN agencies has begun on November 26 in Moscow. It is attended by representatives of various UN agencies working in the Russian Federation, as well as those of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations and church organizations carrying out social work in various areas.
The Russian Embassy has been asking for a piece of land in Seoul to open a Russian Orthodox Church, diplomatic sources say. Furthermore, what Russia has in mind is the spot of the former Russian legation, where Emperor Gojong (1852-1919) took refuge for one year to escape the Japanese who were planning to assassinate him. The place is now designated as the nation's Historic Site 253.
Russian Orthodox is a dominant religion in Russia, as the number of believers accounts for 15 to 20 percent of the population. There's no Russian Orthodox Church currently open in Korea, and Russian residents in Seoul gather at an orthodox church in Mapo, northern Seoul.