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October 7, 2017 – The Committee of Representatives of Orthodox Churches to European Union continue their visit to Moscow. It includes Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium, Exarch of the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Patriarchate of Constantinople); Metropolitan Athanasios of Achaia (Church of Greece); Bishop Porfyrios of Naples (Church of Cyprus); Archimandrite Aimilianos (Bogiannu) (Patriarchate of Constantinople); Archimandrite Atanas (Sultanov) (Bulgarian Church); Hegumen Philip (Ryabykh) (Moscow Patriarchate); Archpriest Sorin Selaru (Romanian Church); Archpriest Georgios Lekkas (Church of Greece); Rev. George Valku (Romanian Church); and Hieromonk Nektarios (Ioannou) (Church of Cyprus), were introduced to the social and educational work of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In the morning, the committee visited the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post-Graduate Studies (CMI) where they were welcomed by CMI pro-rector for training Hieromonk Ioann Kopeikin and head of the CMI Office for Public Relations and Protocol Miguel Palacio. The guests were introduced to the history of the development and restoration of the architectural compound of the Patriarchal Metochion of the Brothers of Chernigov which accommodates the institute. They had a talk with the CMI administrators. Hieromonk Ioann told them about the development and today’s work of the higher education institute that trains highly qualified personnel for the Russian Orthodox Church.

The next place visited by the committee was the Hospital of St. Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow. At the entrance they were met by Bishop Panteleimon, head of the synodal department for church charity and social service, and Dr. A. Zarov, chief physician of the hospital. The committee members saw the palliative aid and reanimation ward and had a talk with patients. Then Bishop Panteleimon, in the presence of the guests, officiated at the prayer service for the recovery of the sick and told the guests the history of the medical institution.

Then the delegation, accompanied by Bishop Panteleimon, visited the St. Dimitry Nursing School. The guests met with students and answered questions about the development of social service in their countries. They were also interested in particulars of the training process. Students told them that, along with special disciplines, they study church disciplines, pray before and after classes, and attend divine service on a regular basis. Talking with future sisters of mercy, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium noted that the task to which they dedicated their life is, in the first place, a service and only after it a profession. Thus the archpastor drew their attention to the similarity of the vocation of priest and medical worker.

In the end of the day, the committee members visited the St. Peter Orthodox School. The delegation was welcomed by a group of leaders and teachers of the school headed by the director, Rev. Andrey Posternak, who told them about the history of the school which marks its 25th anniversary this year. The guests saw a rehearsal of the performance after Alexander Pushkin’s ‘The Captain’s Daughter’ and a sports coaching of preliminary schoolchildren and heard a recital by the school’s choir conducted by Deacon Alexiy Zaitsev. Representatives of Orthodox Churches addressed the students and teachers with a pastoral admonition and blessed the schoolchildren.

DECR Communication Service