Source: Basilica News Agency
March 7, 2016
His Beatitude Neophyte, Patriarch of Bulgaria, is currently paying an official visit to Moscow, upon the invitation of the Russian Patriarch Kirill and of professor Valery Arkadyevich Alekseyev, president of the International Foundation for the Unity of the Orthodox Peoples, according to the official website of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The purpose of this five-days visit (from 7 to 13 March 2016) is the giving out of the 2015 annual award offered by the International Foundation for the Unity of the Orthodox Peoples to Patriarch Neophyte for “his contribution to the unity of Orthodox peoples and the promotion of Christian moral values in society”.
The Bulgarian delegation is comprised of ten members, among whom we note: Metropolitan Anthony of Western and Central Europe, Bishop Gregory Branitski, vicar of the Sofia Metropolitan, Archimandrite Gerasim, chief secretary of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and Mrs. Alexandra Karamichaleva, coordinator of the Department for Public Relations of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
The delegation will also be accompanied by Archimandrite Phillip, representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia to the Bulgarian Patriarchate, and Mrs. Elisaveta Milenova, representative for Bulgaria of the International Foundation for the Unity of the Orthodox Peoples.
The ceremony will take place on March 9, in the Great Hall of Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. Patriarch Neophyte will receive the annual award of the International Foundation for the Unity of the Orthodox Peoples, together with His Excellency Mr. Tomislav Nikolić, president of Serbia, and Mr. Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin, president of the State Duma of the Russian Federation. Former nominees of the award will also take part in the event: representatives of the State Duma, politicians, cultural and public figures of different Orthodox countries, such as former Bulgarian president Mr. Georgi Parvanov, and His Majesty King Simeon Borisov Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
The two patriarchs, Kirill of Moscow and Neophyte of Bulgaria, will concelebrate on Tuesday, 8 March 2016, at the Monastery of the Protection of the Theotokos, where the relics of Blessed Matrona of Moscow are sheltered. After the Divine Liturgy, the two Primates will hold a Moleben Service (a service of supplication) in honour of the Bulgarian Saint Seraphim, Archbishop of Boguchar,recently canonized by the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. H. M. King Simeon of Bulgaria will also attend the divine service.
An official meeting of the two primates of local Orthodox Churches is also expected to take place. On the agenda of the visit of His Beatitude Patriarch Neophyte, there are also scheduled visits to the headquarters of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Peoples, to the metochion of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Moscow, the Monastery of the Resurrection of the Lord – New Jerusalem, to the Kremlin and its churches: The Dormition of the Theotokos Church, where the relics of St. Cyprian, Metropolitan of Kiev and Moscow, are sheltered, and who was Bulgarian, as well as the churches of the Holy Archangels and of the Annunciation of the Theotokos.