Alexy II visits France
( Interfax ) - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II
left for France Monday afternoon.
He will first arrive in Strasbourg to meet Roman Catholic Archbishop
Jean-Pierre Grallet of Strasbourg. Monday evening he will visit the
local cathedral to attend a concert of Russian Orthodox choirs
'Voices of the Orthodox Russia.'
On the eve of his visit, Alexy II gave an interview to the French La
Vie magazine expressing his hope that his trip may be helpful to
strengthen cooperation between Russian and European Union, and that
his address to the PACE will communicate the Orthodox vision of many
problems to its members.
Meanwhile, the deputy chair of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for
External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin called this
visit 'an historic event.' It's the first time a Russian Orthodox
primate visits France, he added.
After speaking at the PACE session on October 2, Alexy II will meet
the PACE president Rene van der Linden, the Council of Europe
Secretary General Terry Davis, and Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica.
After that, the patriarch will celebrate a service at All Saint's
Russian Orthodox church in Strasbourg and leave for Paris afterwards.
There he will meet with the Russian Orthodox community and bishops of
other Orthodox Churches.
In the evening, October 3, the primate will meet President Nicolas
Sarkozy and afterwards visit Notre Dame de Paris.
During his last day in France, October 4, the patriarch will hold a
memorial prayer at Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois Russian Cemetery near Paris.