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Russia’s Orthodox Church head visits China
May 10, 2013, 10:09 am


Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill [AP]

Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has arrived in China for an official visit from May 10-15.

The Chinese President Xi Jinping has called the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s visit to the country an indication of the good relations the two countries today enjoy.

“You are the first Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and the first high-ranking religious leader from Russia to visit our country. This is clear testimony to the high-level of Russian-Chinese relations,” Xi Jinping said at a meeting with Patriarch Kirill in Beijing.

This is the Russian Patriarch’s maiden visit to the Asian country.

According to the Patriarch’s press service, during the visit Kirill will meet with government leaders in China, leaders of religious groups, and also with the Chinese officials responsible for religious affairs.

Patriarch Kirill will also conduct services in Orthodox Cathedrals in Harbin and in Shanghai.

“The visit is to foster normalisation of the Chinese autonomous Orthodox Church’s position and to keep the constructive contribution of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Sino-Russian relations,” archpriest Balashov, deputy head of communications department of Moscow Patriarchate said.

Kirill will also meet members of China’s Orthodox Christian community in the Russian Embassy in Beijing.

The Orthodox Church in China has an almost three-century history, with the first one being established in Beijing in 1685.

By 1949 over 100 Orthodox Churches were established in China.

In the 1957 Chinese Orthodox Church became independent from the Russian Orthodox, ending the Russian Orthodox Church’s mission in China.

Daria Chernyshova

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