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On 12 January 2014, the advanced courses for bishops and other representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Central Asian metropolitan region were completed. With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the advanced courses were organized by the Ss Syril and Methodius Theological Institute for Post-Graduate Studies in cooperation with the Central Asian metropolitan region.

In the morning of January 12, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God in Tashkent. Celebrating the service were Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, head of the Central Asian metropolitan region; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, rector of the Theological Institute for Post-Graduate Studies; Bishop Feodosy of Bishkek and Kyrgyzstan; Bishop Pitirim of Dushanbe and Tajikistan; and clergy of the Central Asian metropolitan region. After the liturgy, those who attended the courses received the advanced courses certificates of the Ss Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute for Post-Graduate Studies. The ceremony took place at the Tashkent Theological Seminary.

The courses have provided to the students knowledge on a wide range of topics: inter-Orthodox, inter-confessional and inter-religious relations of the Russian Orthodox Church; legal status of the Moscow Patriarchate’s dioceses in Uzbekistan; social ministry; catechization; establishment of the primary level of spiritual education; rehabilitation of victims of totalitarian sects and quasi-religious movements.

During his visit to Uzbekistan, the DECR chairman visited Samarkand where he, together with Metropolitan Vikenty, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of St Alexis the Metropolitan of Moscow.

In the evening of January 10, the “Christmas Oratorio” composed by Metropolitan Hilarion was performed at the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan.