3rd February 2009
�Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia receives the Delegation of the Orthodox Church in America
On Tuesday, February 3, 2009, His Holiness, Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia received the official delegation of the Orthodox Church in America, headed by His Grace, Bishop TIKHON of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, and comprised of His Grace, Bishop BENJAMIN of San Francisco and the West; Archimandrite Zacchaeus, OCA Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate; and Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, the Director of the OCA Department of External Church Affairs and Interchurch Relations for a meeting at his working residence at Chisty Lane.
After being warmly greeted by the Patriarch, Bishop TIKHON conveyed the congratulations of His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH to him on the occasion of his election and enthronement as 16th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and presented a carved walrus tusk handcrafted in Alaska by one of the Orthodox faithful there, on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America.
His Holiness, Patriarch KIRILL thanked the delegation for their participation in his enthronement ceremonies and expressed his strong desire to work closely with the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America in strengthening unity among Sister Orthodox Churches. The Patriarch also stated that the Russian Orthodox Church, as the Mother Church out of which the Orthodox Church in America was born, always looks with concern and love on the activities taking place within what has now become a Sister Autocephalous Church. Patriarch KIRILL expressed his eagerness in welcoming His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH to Moscow where the two Primates will have the opportunity to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy, thus bearing witness to their communion in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Likewise, His Holiness made it a point to express his satisfaction with the work being done by the OCA Representative in Moscow, stating that he sees a healthy balance of Church diplomacy and pastoral care being maintained by the Dean of St. Catherine the Great Martyr Church.
In prayerful remembrance of the visit, His Holiness presented the two hierarchs with commemorative panagias and the two presbyters with commemorative crosses. An ornate icon of the Most Holy Theotokos �of the Sign� was given to the delegation to pass on to His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH as a gift from Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia.
Also participating in the meeting from the Russian Orthodox Church were: His Grace, Bishop MARK of Egorevsk, the Deputy Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations (DECR); Archpriest Nicholas Balashov, the Secretary for Inter-Orthodox Relations of the DECR; and Archpriest Alexander Abramov, the Secretary for the Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA .
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