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On 14 September 2015, during his working visit to Milan, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, visited the Russian Pavilion at EXPO 2015, where he took part in the opening of a photo exhibition on the Mission of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Modern World, organized by St Gregory the Theologian Foundation with the assistance of the Cariplo Foundation, Intesa Bank, and PJSC Gazprom.

The Moscow Synodal Choir conducted by Mr. Alexei Puzakov, Honoured Artist of Russia, opened the ceremony by performing Russian religious compositions.

In his greeting speech, Metropolitan Hilarion noted the importance of the salutary mission of the Russian Orthodox Church in today’s society which is undergoing a crisis of moral values and is faced with a problem of exploitative treatment of creation. Carrying out her mission, the Church unceasingly witnesses to the absolute Truth and the integrity of God-created world, leading people to salvation at all times and under any circumstances. “Christians’ involvement in the life of the world around them should be based on the awareness that the world is an object of God’s love, for it is destined to be transfigured and purified,” the DECR chairman said and wished that “the concern over the environmental ecology be inseparably linked with the care for the ecology of human soul.”

Among the speakers were also Mr. Sergei Bondarenko, director of the Russian Pavilion at EXPO 2015; Mr. Alexander Nurizade, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Milan; Deacon Roberto Pagani, responsible for ecumenical dialogue in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan; and Prof. Antonio Fallico, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Intesa Bank.

That same day Metropolitan Hilarion took part in the presentation of the Russian edition of the works of St Ambrose of Milan at the Ambrosian Library. The edition was published thanks to cooperation between the Ambrosian Library and St Tikhon’s Orthodox University (Moscow, Russia). The foreword for this many-volumed edition was written by Metropolitan Hilarion.

In his address delivered during the presentation, the DECR chairman dwelt on the importance of the Holy Tradition and the heritage of Church Fathers for the continuation and spreading of Orthodox witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Among those who took part in the presentation were also Bishop Mitrofan of Severomorsk and Umba; Msgr. Paolo Martinelli, Auxiliary Bishop of Milan; Msgr. Luca Bressan, Episcopal Vicar for Culture, Charity, Mission and Social Action of the Archdiocese of Milan; Deacon Roberto Pagani, responsible for ecumenical dialogue in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan; Archimandrite Amvrosy (Makar), rector of the Church of St Ambose in Milan (Russian Orthodox Church); representatives of Christian communities of Milan; professors of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart; and numerous faithful.

In the evening of the same day, a concert of the Moscow Synodal Choir took place at the Basilica of St Ambrose. Performed at the concert were religious hymns by Russian composers.

DECR Communication Service