2011-11-14 12:11:00

Patriarch Kirill arrives in Lebanon

Beirut, November 14, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has arrived in Lebanon from Syria.

During his visit to the Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch is expected to visit the Beirut Cathedral and the Balamand Monastery, and meet with the Lebanese president, Russians living in Lebanon, the Maronite patriarch and Lebanese Orthodox Christians.

"I have arrived in Beirut from Syria to pray with Orthodox believers and meet with Lebanese people and state officials. I will be very happy to visit the Balamand University and meet with Russians," the Patriarch told a briefing at the Beirut airport.

Patriarch Kirill pointed out that he is paying an official visit to the Antiochian Church, on whose canonical territory Lebanon is located, in accordance with the Orthodox tradition for every patriarch to visit one of the 15 local Orthodox Churches of the world.

Patriarch Kirill also recalled his visit to Beirut when he was head of the Department for External Church Relations "in the days when it [the city] looked a lot like Stalingrad." The Patriarch said he was happy to see the lights of the restored city when he was arriving in Beirut.

"I hope this visit will make a modest contribution to the development of good relations between our Churches and peoples," he said.