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On October 10 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, currently on a visit to Bulgaria with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, visited Veliko Tarnovo, the old capital of the country.

The DECR chairman met with Hristo Bonjolov, rector of the Ss Cyril and Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo. They were joined at the meeting by Metropolitan Grigorij of Veliko Tarnovo; Bishop Gerasim of Melnik, chief secretary of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church; Bishop Silvestr of Belogorodsk, rector of the Kiev Theological Academy; Archimandrite Vassian (Zmeyev) Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, and Rev. Dimitry Safonov. Discussed were the present state and prospects of religious education in Russia and Bulgaria.

Metropolitan Hilarion took part in the theological conference “History of the Bulgarian and Russian Orthodox Churches as a subject of academic studies in Bulgaria and Russia at present” and delivered a report on the theme of the conference. Later, accompanied by Bishop Gerasim, he visited the Church of the Resurrection of Christ where he was warmly welcomed by Metropolitan Grigorij. The DECR chairman congratulated him with his birthday and presented a holy panagia to him. Then they both went to burial place of the Russian soldiers who died in the Russo-Turkish war for the liberation of Bulgaria in 1877-78 and sang ‘Memory Eternal.’