On 17 February 2012, archpriest Nikolai Balashov, deputy chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, met with a hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Bishop Pahomije of Vranje, and with Bishop Antonije of Moravia, official representative of the Serbian Patriarchate to the Moscow Patriarchate, who accompanied Bishop Pahomije during his visit to Moscow.
Discussed were relations between the two Churches; assistance of the Russian Orthodox Church to Orthodox Christians in Kosovo and Metochia, and development of Orthodox pilgrimage in the countries located in the canonical territory of the Serbian and Moscow Patriarchates.
The First Days of Orthodox Book opened at the La mutuelle Saint-Christophe Assurance in Paris on February 17, 2012, under the auspices of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of France (AEOR). The Days have been initiated by Orthodoxie.com web-site and supported by the Cerf Publishing House, La Vie weekly, and La Procure bookstores.
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, took part in the opening ceremony at the invitation of the AEOR president, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, and with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. Taking part in the ceremony were bishops from the AEOR; representatives of clergy of the Local Orthodox Churches; I. Solovyov, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the French Republic; representatives of public circles and intellectual elite of France; publishers; professors and students of St. Sergius Orthodox Institute and of the Russian Orthodox Theological seminary. Its choir sang religious hymns at the beginning of the ceremony.
The Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church was the recipient of the highest award of the International Fund of United Orthodox People. This Fund annually awards individuals and institutions for “exceptional contributions in promoting the unity of Orthodox people”. His Holiness Alexy II Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia personally presented the award to the Very Rev. Dr. Vladan Perisic, Faculty Dean, on 21 January 2004. The solemn ceremony took place in the facilities of Christ the Savior Church in Moscow before 4,000 guests. Previously, this prestigious award for 2003 was presented to His Beatitude Peter VII, Patriarch of Alexandria, and to Mr. Dimitris Stephanopoulos, President of Greece.
On February 12, 2012 the commemoration day of Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, celebrations took place at the church of the Three Hierarchs in Paris on the occasion of its patronal feast. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated in this cathedral church of the diocese Chersonese by Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and Primorje (Serbian Orthodox Church), Archbishop Innokenty of Vilna and Lithuania, Archbishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe, and Bishop Nestor of Chersonese.
On February 9, 2012, Archbishop Mark of Yegoryevsk, director of the Moscow Patriarchate’s office for institutions abroad, who is on a visit to Thailand, consecrated the church dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God at the Monastery of the Dormition in Ratchaburi.
With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Fr. Seraphim Raicha of St. Nicholas’s in Bangkok was ordained in the newly-consecrated church as hieromonk to continue his service in Thailand. Present at the service were pilgrims from various parishes in the country, officials of the Russian Embassy in Thailand and the head of the local administration.