On 9 October 2013, the commemoration day of St John the Theologian, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, chairman of the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission, rector of the Ss Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute for Post-Graduate and Doctoral Studies, led a solemn act at the St. Petersburg Theological Schools, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and at the invitation of Bishop Ambrose of Peterhof, rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.

The celebration began with the Divine Liturgy which Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated at the church of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.

Before the service, Mr. Georgy Poltavchenko, Governor of St. Petersburg, addressed those present, noting the exceptional importance of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy for the history of the city and its special role in spiritual and moral education of citizens.

After the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion delivered an archpastoral homily and greeted all those present on behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia who had been rector of the Leningrad Theological Aademy and Seminary for ten years.

During the solemn act which took place at the Academy’s assembly hall,  Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga addressed all those present with words of greeting.

Metropolitan Hilarion delivered his report on The Edict of Milan and Christian Freedom.

At the conclusion of the celebration, Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk and Bishop Ambrose of Peterhof presented professors and donators of the St. Petersburg Theological Schools with Patriarchal awards and letters of commendation.