13 november 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits St Alexander Nevsky’s Cathedral and talks with Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria


Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov accompanied Mr Putin to the cathedral, where the Russian prime minister lit a candle and approached the reliquary of St John the Baptist, where he bowed before kissing an icon of the saint.

Putin then went to the altar to be received by Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria, who is also the Metropolitan of Sofia. The patriarch wished the prime minister long life and health and blessed him in the service of his nation. He thanked Putin for his contribution to the development of the Russian Orthodox Church and asked him to pass warm wishes to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

“It is a great honour to meet with you and visit this cathedral, which is one of the most sublime symbols of our nations’ spiritual affinity and historical closeness. We are grateful to the Bulgarian authorities for its quality maintenance,” Putin reassured Patriarch Maxim that he would pass his wishes on to Patriarch Kirill. As he was finishing his visit, he gave the patriarch an icon of Our Lady of Kazan.

The reliquary presumably containing the relics of St John the Baptist was unearthed by an archaeological expedition in the summer 2010 during excavations of an ancient Orthodox church on St Ivan Island not far from Sozopol in Bulgaria’s southeast. Experts identified the relics as those belonged to St John the Baptist. The reliquary, worshipped at St George’s Church in Sozopol, was brought to St Alexander Nevsky’s Cathedral in Sofia, Friday, at the direction of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.