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BELGRADE: May 15, 2009
A Fraternal Meeting Is Held Between the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches

On May 13, 2009, His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) and Protopriest Nikolai Balashov, Vice President of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, having arrived on the territory of the Serbian Orthodox Church with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, met with the members of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Church at the Patriarchal Palace in Belgrade. These included His Eminence Metropolitan Amphilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, Chairing the Holy Synod; His Grace Bishop Hrizostim of Zica; His Grace Bishop Hrizostom of Bihac and Petrovac, and His Grace Bishop Filaret of Mileseva. Also participating in the fraternal discussion were His Eminence Metropolitan Jovan of Zagreb and Ljubljana; His Grace ishop Vasily of Zvornic and Tuzlan; His Grace Bishop Constantine of Central Europe, and His Grace Bishop Antony of Moravic, Representative of the Serbian Patriarch to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Also in attendance were Protopriest Vitaly Tarasiev, Rector of the Podvorie of the Russian Orthodox Church in Belgrade; Priest Nebojsa Topolic, Secretary of the Patriarchal Chancery, and Protopriest Luka Novakovic, Rector of the Church of St Sava in Belgrade. Matters of mutual interest pertaining to church life were discussed.

On May 14, 2009, Metroplitan Amfilohije officiated at Divine Liturgy before the beginning of the Council of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He was joined by His Grace Bishop Irinej of Nis; His Grace Bishop Lukijan of Osecko polje and Baranja; His Grace Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand; His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan, Vicar of the Diocese of Ras and Prizren, and also Fr Nikolai and other clergymen of the Serbian Church. Archbishop Mark prayed in the altar and communed of the Holy Gifts. The visitors from the Russian Orthodox Church then attended a moleben, during which the Holy Spirit was invoked upon the members of the Council of Bishops, which was performed by Bishop Irinej in the Chapel of St Simeon the Myrrh-gusher at the Patriarchal Palace.

At the invitation of the Holy Synod, Archbishop Mark and Fr Nikolai, and also Fr Vitaly attended the first meeting of the Council. Vladyka Mark relayed a greeting from Patriarch Kirill, in which His Holiness wished the Council success, and shared his thoughts about pan-Orthodox matters. After a brotherly conversation, Metropolitan Amfilohije asked that Vladyka Mark relay the Councils gratitude for His Holiness blessing and good wishes, and for informing the Council of the position of the Moscow Patriarchate on certain matters.