Patriarch Kirill: Russia, Serbia strongly connected

BELGRADE - Russia and Serbia are connected by history and religion, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said during a meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Friday.

Patriarch Kirill, who is on a three-day visit to Serbia, said that Russia has always been with the Serbian nation, in joy and in sadness.

In the most recent times as well - when you were bombed - we were with the Serbian nation with our hearts, and we are now together going through what the Serb population in Kosovo-Metohija is experiencing - we are helping with what we can and however much we can, and we hope that justice and peace will ultimately arrive in Kosovo-Metohija, the patriarch of Moscow said.

The Serbian president welcomed the patriarch of Moscow, noting that the Serbian Orthodox Church has a pillar of support in the Russian Orthodox Church, as does Serbia in the Russian Federation.

Your decision to donate the work on a mosaic for the Church of Saint Sava indicates how connected we are, Nikolic said.

Earlier on Friday, the patriarch of Moscow and all Russia was awarded an honorary doctorate of the University of Belgrade for his exceptional contribution to higher education in theology and promoting the scientific thought in systematic theology.

The Russian patriarch received the honorary doctorate from University of Belgrade Rector Vladimir Bumbasirevic at the proposal of the scientific and educational council of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology.

Patriarch Kirill is also scheduled to meet with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic later in the day.

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