His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia begins his primatial visit to Ukraine
The official delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church accompanying His Holiness includes Metropolitan Varsonofiy of Saransk and Mordovia, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR); Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Administrative Secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate; archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, chairman of the Synodal Department for Church-State Relations; Mr. Vladimir Legoida, chairman of the Synodal Information Department; archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR deputy chairman; archimandrite Savva (Tutunov), deputy chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations; protodeacon Vladimir Nazarkin, assistant to the DECR chairman; Mr. Mikhail Kuksov, acting head of the Patriarch’s personal secretariat.
His Holiness and his suite were met at Borispol airport by members of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, vicar bishops of the Kiev metropolia and deans from the Kiev diocese, as well as by Ms. Raissa Bogatyreva, Ukrainian vice-prime minister and minister of health; Yuri Bogutsky, Ukrainian deputy minister of culture; Alexander Mazurchak, deputy head of the Kiev City State Administration; H. E. Mikhail Zurabov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Ukraine; and Valentin Velichko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Ukraine.
In his short interview to the mass media His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said:
“I would like to express my profound joy and satisfaction with an opportunity to be
in the holy Ukrainian land. May the Lord help us all to lead a life in which spiritual and moral values, which we have received from the Baptismal Font in Kiev, be strengthened and give people an opportunity to motivate their behaviour by Gospel values.
“It is with profound joy that I will concelebrate with His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir at Vladimir’s Hill and in the Laura of the Caves, the cradle of Russian monasticism. I will be happy to meet with bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, many pilgrims and guests who have arrived for the celebration.
“May the Lord keep you all. May God’s blessing be with Ukraine and its people.”