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Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, made a trip to Istanbul on 19 March 2011, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. He was accompanied by Rev. Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations, Rev. Ioann (Kopeikin), assistant to the DECR chairman, and Mr. L. Sevastyanov, executive director of the St. Gregory the Theologian Charity.

On March 20, Metropolitan Hilarion participated in the Divine Liturgy celebrated in St. George’s Cathedral of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, during which Archimandrite Elpidophoros (Lambriniadis) was consecrated as Metropolitan of Proussa. Until recently he acted as chief secretary of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Synod. Among those who arrived in Istanbul for that event were Archbishop Jeronymos of Athens and All Greece accompanied by bishops and priests of the Orthodox Church of Greece, representatives of the Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and the Orthodox Church in America. The consecration was led by His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Present in the church was Russian Consul General in Istanbul A. Yerkhov.

In his speech after the consecration, Metropolitan Elpidophoros mentioned with gratitude Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk’s participation in the service.

After the service, a grand reception was given, during which Metropolitan Hilarion read out a congratulatory message to Metropolitan Elpidophoros from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. Then he extended personal congratulations to the newly-consecrated hierarch, stressing that ‘the participation of a hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in an episcopal consecration in the Patriarch Cathedral of St. George is a unique event showing that relations between our two Churches are on the rise and in dynamic development’. His Eminence noted that he had known Metropolitan Elpidophoros since they were students and expressed hope that their long-standing friendship would become stronger and bring forth rich fruits of the love of Christ. In conclusion, Metropolitan Hilarion presented Metropolitan Elpidophoros with a pectoral icon.

The DECR chairman had brief meetings with Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Jeronymos.

On the same day, Metropolitan Hilarion and his party returned home. They were seen off at Ataturk Airport by Russian Consul General A. Yerkhov.

DECR Communication Service