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On 6 June 2018, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East received a delegation from Russia at his residence in Damascus. The delegation is led by Mr. Dmitry Sablin, deputy of the State Duma and deputy chairman of the Combat Brotherhood” All-Russian Organization of Veterans. The delegation was joined at the audience by Patriarchal vicar bishop Ephraim of Seleukia and hegumen Arseny (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.

His Beatitude warmly greeted the guests, wished them a pleasant stay in Syria and thanked Mr. Sablin and the “Combat Brotherhood” for financial help in the restoration of the convent of St. Thecla in Maaloula ruined by terrorists.

His Beatitude told the guests from Russia about relations between the Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Russian Orthodox Church, noting that these relations have become even stronger in the recent years. “We are happy about the developments in the academic sphere and hope that our common efforts will yield results and strengthen our unity,” he added.

In conclusion of the audience His Beatitude Patriarch John X blessed all members of the delegation, who proceeded to the Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus accompanied by hegumen Arseny.