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On 5-6 November 2018, Archimandrite Alexei (Shehadeh), director of the Antiochian Patriarchate’s Department of ecumenical relations and development, visited Moscow at the invitation of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR).

On the first day of his visit Archimandrite Alexei concelebrated the All-Night Vigil service with Metropolitan Hilarion on the eve of the dedication day of the Church of the “Joy to All the Afflicted” icon of the Mother of God on Bolshaya Ordynka street.

After the divine service they discussed the situation in the Middle East, humanitarian aid to the people in Syria and prospects of cooperation.

On November 6, after the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Metropolitan Hilarion, Archimandrite Alexei addressed greeting to him and to all the worshippers. He said that relations between the Russian and Antiochian Orthodox Churches were based on fraternal love and mutual respect, deep belief and exchange of experience in many fields and acknowledged an important role played by the Russian Orthodox Church in the restoration of the ruined religious and cultural centers in Syria and also in the support of the Syrian Christian and in rendering humanitarian assistance to all people in Syria.

Archimandrite Alexei added that the Antiochian Church together with her partners offers help to some 2, 5 million of those in need every year. This aid is necessary for the rebirth of the harmonious society and common work done for the restoration of everything destroyed by terrorism. Despite all the difficulties we will firmly stand on our land which we do not see without Christians. We are not guests in the Middle East, but equal masters.