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On 18 November 2017, the eve of the commemoration day of St. Varlaam of Khutyn and hieromartyr Konstantin Lyubomudrov, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, officiated at the All-Night Vigil service at the church of the “Joy to All the Afflicted” icon of the Mother of God on Bolshaya Ordynka street, Moscow.

Concelebrating were hierarchs of the Georgian Patriarchate Metropolitan Nikolosi of Akhalkalaki and Kumurdo, Metropolitan Andrea of Gori and Ateni and Metropolitan Stefane of Tsageri and Lentechi who arrived in Moscow to attend celebration of the 25th anniversary of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University of the Humanities.

After the reading from the Gospel Metropolitan Hilarion addressed the guests and the worshippers. He congratulated them on the commemoration day of St. Varlaam of Khutyn, the Wonderworker of All Russia and told them about his life, reminding all attending the divine service that several ages ago a church was built in honour of the saint where the right side-altar with his miraculous icon is located at present.

Metropolitan Hilarion continued to say: “The memory of St. Varlaam has been always cherished in our church, and thousands of people from all districts of Moscow would come here on his commemoration day to pray before the miraculous icon asking the saint for help. St. Varlaam won fame by his miracles during his life-time, and miracles have been performed after his demise.

“Fr. Konstantin Lyubomudrov was a priest and for some time rector of this church in the early 20th century when the Russian Church was subjected to severe persecution. Fr. Konstantin revered St. Varlaam, died as a martyr on the commemoration day of the saint and therefore is depicted on icons with an icon of St. Varlaam in his hands.

“I am happy to greet hierarchs of the Georgian Orthodox Church Metropolitans Nikolosi, Andrea and Stefani who have shared our spiritual celebration on this remarkable day on which we commemorate St. Varlaam of Khutyn and hieromartyr Konstantin Lyubomudrov, presbyter of Moscow. Let us pray to these saints and beseech them to pray for us and help us going along our earthly path.

“Dear Metropolitans! I cordially greet you and wish you the blessed stay on the land of Russia. May the Lord keep the Georgian people of the same faith during many good years!”

After the divine service Metropolitan Hilarion and the hierarchs of the Georgian Orthodox Church a talk, taking part in which was Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations. Discussed were the development and strengthening of relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Georgian Orthodox Church.