On 13 May 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, currently on a visit to China, visited St. Sophia Cathedral in Harbin. He was accompanied by Ambassador Andrei Denisov of the Russian Federation to the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Sergei Paltov, Russian Consul General in Shenyang, Mr. Zhang Lebin, deputy director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs under the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, and members of the official delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Staff members of the municipal architecture and art museum housed in the building of the cathedral told His Holiness about its history.
Patriarch Kirill recalled the destruction of Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow and underlined the importance of preserving any traces of Russian presence in China for the development of relations between China and Russia.
His Holiness and his suite sang Paschal troparion.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate in conjunction with the Council of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe organizes a scientific conference devoted to religious freedom in Europe. His All-Holiness Bartholomew of Constantinople has sent invitations for this two-day conference, which will take place on May 17 and 18 in Istanbul.
His Grace Bishop Dr. Irinej of Backa will participate in the work of this seminar.
The cause of the conference represents a publication of the Edict of Milan 1700 years ago, when Emperor Constantine and southeast Roman co-ruler Licinius proclaimed religious freedom to Christianity and other religions.
On May 12, 2013, the second Sunday after Pascha, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the territory of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Beijing in which the Russian Orthodox Mission in China used to be.
The Primate of the Russian Church was assisted by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s administrative secretariat, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR vice-chairman, Archpriest Aleksiy Kiselev, dean of the Orthodox community in Shanghai, Rev. Sergiy Voronin, rector of the church of the Assumption of the Russian Embassy in Beijing, and Rev. Ilia Kosykh, acting head of the DECR communication service.
On May 10, 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who is on a visit to China, met with the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Participating in the meeting were Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s administrative secretariat, Mr. V. Legoida, head of the Synodal Information Department, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR vice-chairman, and Mr. D. Petrovsky, a DECR staff member.
"Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!" was the greeting between the Orthodox faithful as they gathered to celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Sunday 5th May, in a service at the conference room in Berjaya Beau Vallon hotel. In the Orthodox calendar, this year Easter is celebrated much later date to the Western churches, as the Orthodox follow the Julian calendar.