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On 25 April 2014, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), met with Mr. Gebran Bassil, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of the Republic of Lebanon.

Accompanying Minister Bassil to the meeting, which took place at the DECR premises, were Archbishop Nifon of Philippopolis, representative of the Patriarch of Antioch to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and Lebanese officials. Also taking part in the meeting was the Revd. Sergiy Zvonarev, DECR secretary for far abroad countries.

Metropolitan Hilarion greeted the guests at the Synodal institution in charge of foreign contacts of the Russian Orthodox Church. He shared with them his vision of the problems in the Middle East in general and in Syria in particular, including the situation of Christians, calling the situation tragic. It can worsen due to the support of the armed extremists from outside.

Minister Bassil dwelt on the situation in Lebanon and the problem of refugees coming to Lebanon from Syria.

The participants discussed the level and prospects of relations between the people of Russia and Lebanon.

Metropolitan Hilarion assured his guests that the Russian Orthodox Church will continue to promote cooperation between people of the two countries and will render support to Christians residing in the Middle East.