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On 4 April 2019, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church began its session at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in Danilov Monastery in Moscow under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church opened the session and addressed those gathered, saying: “I cordially greet all members of the Holy Synod. There are seventeen items on the agenda, one of which is the approval of the topics of the 28th International Christmas Readings.

The Supreme Church Council has paid much attention to them and after a prolonged discussed decided unanimously to present the topic “The Great Victory: Heritage and Heritors” to the Holy Synod. The topic is important in the context of the jubilee year of the victory. However, it is not enough to talk about the past. It is important to make a link of the Victory, which our nation won under the incredibly hard conditions, with the present time, to ponder over an ability of modern men to perform a deed and over the place of the Church in the formation of spiritual and moral patriotic feelings of people that will help them in peaceful years and – God forbid! – in the years of trials to remain faithful to historical tradition of our country to defend the Fatherland.”

His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna; Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldova; Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan, head of the metropolitan area in the Republic of Kazakhstan; Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, head of the metropolitan area in Central Asia; Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga; Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, and Metropolitan Savva of Tver and Kashino, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate are permanent members of the Holy Synod.

Invited to the summer session (March-August) were Archbishop Serafim of Kaliningrad and Baltiysk, Archbishop Roman of Yakutsk and Lensk, Archbishop Antony of Vienna and Budapest, Bishop Leonid of Turov and Mozyr, and Bishop German of Sochi and Tuapse.