15 May 2013
In an unprecedented event on 12 May 2013, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Beijing before a gathering of over 500 Orthodox Christians.
(photo: The Russian Orthodox Church)
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia is presently engaged in a visit of historic proportions. On 10 May, the Russian Orthodox Church head arrived in China. Vatican Insider reports:
The overture to Patriarch Kirill’s official visit to China marked an important moment in relations between China and the Orthodox Church. Yesterday, in the Great Hall of the People, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church had the privilege of meeting Chinese President, Xi Jinping. “You are the first patriarch of Moscow and the first supreme religious leader from Russia to visit our country,” Xi told Kirill, presenting this unprecedented event as a “clear sign of the strength and high level of relations between China and Russia.” Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that during their conversation, Kirill emphasised the “special relationship that has blossomed between Russia and China in recent years.”
Such a visit can include a great many milestones. Among them is the first Divine Liturgy celebrated by a Russian Orthodox Patriarch in China. According to the Voice of Russia:
More than 500 Orthodox believers attended the liturgy held in the Russian embassy, among them Russians living and working in China and the so-called Albazins — descendants of Russian Cossacks who settled in Beijing in the late 18th century.
His Holiness reminded the worshipers that the Russian Orthodox Church in China is more than three centuries old. …
Russian Ambassador to Beijing Andrei Denisov believes that the visit to China by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will open up new opportunities for the local Orthodox community.
For more details and photographs, visit the site of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Department for External Church Relations.
Tags: Unity Russian Orthodox Church Orthodox Dialogue Patriarch Kirill