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On May 25, 2013, the 8th International Festival of Slavic Literature and Culture ‘We are Slavs – Our power is in unity’ was held in the Russian-Ukrainian border regions of Belgorod and Lugansk. With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, the event was attended by hierarchs from Russia and Ukraine.


The forum took place at the Friendship Park in the Klimenki village near Belgorod and the Sirotino village near Lugansk. It was devoted to the Slavic Days and the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia.


The official delegations of Russia, led by Belgorod Duma Speaker I. Kulabukhov, and Ukraine, led by Chairman of Lugansk Regional Council V. Galenko, met at the border crossing at the Klemenki village.


By the established tradition, the festival opened with a festive thanksgiving celebrated by Metropolitan Ioann of Belgorod and Stary Oskol, Bishop Nikodim of Severodonetsk and Starobelsk and Bishop Sofrony of Gubkin.


Greeting the participants and guests of the festival, Metropolitan Ioann said in particular, ‘When we look at the sky, we see how birds overcome any border. Similarly, our faith has no borders. Our love is without borders; our common history is without borders!’


Then the honorary villagers of the border areas raised the flags of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus to the sounds of the national anthems. This was followed by a performance of folk art teams from the three countries.


Belgorod Diocesan Press Service/

DECR Communication Service