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On 13 November 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who was on a visit to Bulgaria, visited the Cathedral of the Holy and Right-Believing Prince Alexander Nevsky in Sofia, Prime Minister’s press service reports.

Mr. Putin came to the cathedral together with the Bulgarian Prime Minister B. Borisov. The head of the Russian government lit a candle and venerated shrine with the relics of St. John, Prophet and Baptist of the Lord.

The shrine was found last summer in archaeological excavation of an ancient church on St. John Island near Sozopol located on the southern Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. On November 12, the shrine was brought to the cathedral by the decision of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

of Bulgaria.

Prime Minister Putin met with His Holiness Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria at the sanctuary. The Primate of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church wished Mr. Putin good health, many years and God’s help in his work for the good of people.

His Holiness asked Mr. Putin to convey his best wishes to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

Vladimir Putin said it was a great honour to meet with you and visit the cathedral, which is a bright symbol of the spiritual and historical closeness of our nations, and we thank the Bulgarian authorities for good maintenance of the cathedral. The Prime Minister assured His Holiness Patriarch Maxim that he would convey his good wishes to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church and presented and made a gift of a replica of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God to Patriarch Maxim.