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On 29 May 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), met with Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Nikšić, Serbian Orthodox Church, who arrived in Moscow to take part in the international conference on ‘Violation of the rights of believers in Ukraine.’
They were joined in the meeting by Archpriest Ostoja Knežević of the Budimlje and Nikšić diocese; Rev. Dimitry Safonov, DECR secretary for inter-religious relations; and Mr. Andrei Khoshev of the DECR secretariat for inter-Orthodox relations.
Bishop Joanikije conveyed greetings from His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia to Metropolitan Hilarion and stated the strong unchangeable support of the suffering Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the part of bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
DECR chairman cordially greeted Bishop Joanikije with remarkable dates in his life, namely, with his 60th birthday and the 20th anniversary of his consecration, and wished him good health and God’s aid in his archpastoral ministry.
Discussed during the talk held in a warm fraternal atmosphere were topical issues of inter-Orthodox relations, prospects of cooperation between the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches, and other issues of mutual interest.