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On 11 December 2016, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, and Bishop Antony of Bogorodsk, rector of the Church of St. Catherine the Great Martyr and administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate’s parishes in Italy celebrated Divine Liturgy.

Attending the service on the day of the patronal feast of the first Russian church built in the Eternal City were H.E. Alexander Avdeyev,  Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Holy See; the Revd. Jacinthe Destivelle of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity;  Fr. Milan Žust, dean of the Faculty of Missiology of the Pontifical Gregorian University; Ms Tatiana Shumova, head of the Direction of International Programmes of the Russian Federation.

Liturgical hymns were sung by the Moscow Synodal Choir directed by Alexei Puzakov.

After festive moleben and procession with the cross Metropolitan Hilarion blessed marble icon-cases with the icons of St. Catherine the Great Martyr and the Synaxis of saints of Rome.

Bishop Antony noted that Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit marked the final stage of the decoration of the church.

Metropolitan Hilarion delivered a homily of today’s Readings from the Gospel, thanked Bishop Antony for hospitality and wished him God’s help in his archpastoral labours.