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On 16 May 2011, His Holiness Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria received Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), who arrived in Bulgaria with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to take part in the celebration of the commemoration day of the martyrs of Batak.

They were joined in the meeting, which took place at the Synodal residence, by Metropolitans of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church: Kalinik of Vratsa, Kyrill of Varna and Veliki Preslav, Dometian of Vidin, Neofit of Rousse, Natanail of Nevrokop, Grigorij of Veliko Tǎrnovo, and Bishop Naum of Stobi, general secretary of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Patriarchate; Rev. Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for Inter-Orthodox relations; hieromonk Zotik (Gayevsky), acting treasurer of the Sofia metochion of the Moscow Patriarchate; and hierodeacon Ioann (Kopeikin), assistant to the DECR chairman.

The DECR chairman conveyed warm fraternal greetings from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill to His Holiness Patriarch Maxim and underscored the importance of the glorification of the martyrs of Batak, as “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Metropolitan Hilarion told the Primate of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church about the plans to build in Moscow the church of Metropolitan Cyprian of Moscow, “a great son of the Bulgarian people.”

The development of relations among the Local Orthodox Churches was also discussed during the talk.

The DECR chairman presented an icon of St. Sergius of Radonezh to His Holiness Patriarch Maxim as a keepsake of their meeting.