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On 1 July 2017, Hegumen Arseny (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, met with His Beatitude Youssef I Absi, who was elected Greek Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem. The meeting took place at the patriarchal residence in Raboueh, Lebanon.

Hegumen Arseny greeted the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and presented him with a congratulatory message from Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations.

The situation in Syria was discussed and intention was expressed to consolidate common efforts for rendering humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. Hegumen Arseny told Patriarch Youssef Absi about philanthropic initiatives of the Russian Orthodox Church for the Middle East. Hegumen Arseny presented the newly elected Patriarch with the book ‘Freedom and Responsibility. A Search of Harmony” by the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. The book was published in Lebanon in the Arabic language.