18 November 2018 in Damascus hosted festive events dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Metochion of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Syrian capital, reports patriarhiei. The divine Liturgy in the Church of the monastery, consecrated in the name of the Holy Martyr Ignatius of Antioch, made Patriarch of Antioch and all the East John X in concelebration of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for external Church kwazamokuhle Patriarchate; Metropolitan — Chomsky George, Basil of akkar, Kamiccolo Nicholas, Philippopolis of Nifon, representative of the Patriarch of Antioch to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Latinismo Athanasius; bishops — Mariiskogo Moses, Zajednickog Luke Sergiopolis John Savitskogo Demetrius, Ersascope Slepcikova Elijah and Ephraim; the clergy of the Patriarchate of Antioch, as well as the rector of the Metochion of the Russian Orthodox Church in Beirut, Archimandrite Philip (Vasiltsev), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch, Igumen Arseny (Sokolov), DECR Secretary for inter-Orthodox relations Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR Secretary for inter-Christian relations hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), rector of the Church postgraduate and doctoral school named saints Cyril and Methodius hieromonk John (Kopeikin) and St. Moscow Zaikonospassky monastery of hieromonk Ermogen (Korchakova).
The service was attended by the Nuncio of the Holy see in Syria, cardinal Mario Zenari, members of the delegation of the Interfaith working group of the Council for cooperation with religious associations under the President of Russia, Russian diplomats.
The word after the Liturgy, his Beatitude Patriarch John noted the important role of the Metochion of the Russian Orthodox Church in Damascus, which, like that Antiochian Metochion in Moscow, served as an important link between the two churches.
Then the floor was given to the DECR Chairman, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who said:
“Your Beatitude! Your eminences and graces! Dear fathers, dear brothers and sisters!
Let me cordially welcome You, Your Beatitude, all your God-saved flock, and also a few while the Russian congregation, living in the country, on behalf of his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill visited Syria and Lebanon in that moment, when began the Syrian military action. During the entire time it took to make these military actions, while the Syrian land was plundered by terrorists, the Russian Orthodox Church and offered up fervent prayers to Syria to restore peace and harmony. Immediately after his return from Syria, Patriarch Kirill appealed to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin with the request to protect the persecuted Christians of Syria and other countries in the Middle East has become one of the main vectors of Russia’s foreign policy. We see that Russia made a decisive contribution to the defeat of terrorists on the blessed Syrian land, and today we thank God for these servants of Satan banished and the restoration of the country, although there is still much to be done.
I wish Your Beatitude, on behalf of his Holiness Patriarch Kirill and on behalf of the whole multinational and multi-million Russian Orthodox Church to assure You that our Church has always been and will be with your Church. You are the successor of the great St. Ignatius of Antioch. We are the Church that bears his name. St. Ignatius the God-bearer in one of his letters wrote: “I am the wheat of God: let me izmest the teeth of beasts in order that I may become the pure offering to Christ”. And we know that many Christians suffered for the past years and became the wheat of God, which was sacrificed to the Savior. We know also that many were missing, and among them was Your brother, the most Reverend Metropolitan Elepski Paul, who more than five and a half years ago was kidnapped and taken in an unknown direction together with Metropolitan Gregory Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Church, and more than we do about his fate is not know. But we continue to pray for both metropolitans and commemorate their health. I hope that a miracle will happen and they will return to us and to the flock.
Many wounds were inflicted on Syria this terrible war. We hope that gradually will work together to heal these wounds. I would like on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church to tell You, Your Beatitude, thank you for Your confessional Ministry on the Syrian and Lebanese land.
I would like to Express my heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the entire Russian Church to Your representative in Moscow, the most Reverend Metropolitan Filippopolsky the Niphon, which for four decades with dignity and righteous is your great Church under Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. Recently he celebrated 30 years of service in the rank of Bishop.
I would also in the presence of Your Beatitude to sincerely thank our representative at the Antiochian Patriarchal throne of the hegumen Arseniy (Sokolov). Father Arseny started his Ministry in Lebanon, and in the midst of hostilities, when over Syria dropped bombs, he turned to me and through me to his Holiness Patriarch Cyril with a proposal to return the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church from Beirut to Damascus. Despite the fact that the war continued and it was unsafe for his life, he came here and began to recover the Church life here. From Patriarch Kirill, thank You, father Arseny, for Your service and wish that the Lord helped You on life’s journey”.
Metropolitan Hilarion presented the Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Church his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill, the Holy Panagia.
He also gave the rector of the representation of the hegumen Arseniy (Sokolov) award of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, the medal of St. Mark of Ephesus (II degree), where he was awarded for his dedicated and zealous service to the Church.
Then in the ceremonial hall of the monastery was followed by a reception to which were invited his Beatitude the Patriarch of Antioch John X, hierarchs and clerics of the Patriarchate of Antioch, representatives of traditional religious confessions of Russia and Syria.