December 26, 2015
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I is expected to visit Greece and Cuba in 2016, a spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate's department for public relations and rapport between the Church and society told TASS on Friday.
"The thousandth anniversary since the first arrival of Russian monks at Mount Athos in Greece has a special significance for the Russian Orthodox Church," he said. "The festivities will be held in Russia and on the Holy Mount and His Beatitude Kirill I, who is supposed to chair the festive functions, will make a visit to Greece for the occasion."
The spokesman also said the Patriarch had received invitations from the Cuban leadership to visit that country on a number of occasions.
"Cuban leader Raul Castro was the first foreign head of state to meet with Kirill I after the latter had been elected to the Patriarch's Office," he said. "His Beatitude's visit to Cuba in February will mark an important step along the way of building up relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Freedom Island's authorities, as well as between the peoples of the two countries."
His Beatitude visited Cuba in 2008 when he was chairman of Moscow Patriarchate's department for external relations but this will be his first trip there in the Patriarch's capacity.
The Patriarch has plans for other trips abroad, too, but their format and dates will be refined further, the spokesman said.