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On 15 February 2012, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), arrived in Paris with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to take part in the opening of the Days of Orthodox Book in Paris, which held in the capital of France for the first time, and to meet with the members of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of France and with Russian Ambassador to France, Alexander Orlov, and to visit the Russian Orthodox Theological Seminary.

On 16 February, Metropolitan Hilarion visited St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute at the invitation of Archbishop Gabriel of Komana, Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Archbishop Gabriel warmly welcomed his guest. Metropolitan Hilarion, doctor of theology of St. Sergius Institute, said that he was happy to pay another visit to the centre of the revival of Russian theological thought of the 20th century. He added that renowned theologians, such as archimandrite Cyprian (Kern), archpriests Georges Florovsky, Sergy Bulgakov and Nikolai Afansiev; professor Vladimir Lossky had worked and prayed here. Metropolitan Hilarion shared his reminiscences of his visits to the Institute during the years of his studies and mentioned his stay in the cell of archpriest Sergy Bulgakov.

The DECR chairman spoke of the work of Ss Cyril and Methodius Postgraduate and Doctoral School of the Russian Orthodox Church and donated to the library the book about the Department for External Church Relations issued for its 65th anniversary, and several of the books he wrote.

That same day in the evening, director of the Cerf Publishing House, Rev. Nicolas-Jean Sed, gave dinner in honour of Metropolitan Hilarion. The guests shared their thoughts on the upcoming Days of Orthodox Book. Metropolitan Hilarion presented Rev. Sed with a pectoral cross.