With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, visited India on September 27 — October 2, 2023. The visit was held at the invitation of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India and the Christian Conference of Asia, which is holding its XV General Assembly in Kottayam (Kerala, India) these days.
The trip was attended by the DECR Secretary for Inter-Christian Relations, Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov) and the DECR Assistant Chairman, Priest Alexander Ershov. During the visit, Metropolitan Anthony was accompanied by Metropolitan Juhanon Mar Demetrios of Delhi, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Malankara Church, Priest Ashwin Fernandis, Executive Director of the DECR of the Malankara Church, and Priest Gio Joseph, an employee of this Department.
On September 28, the delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate took part in the opening of the XV General Assembly of the Christian Conference of Asia as honorary guests. Metropolitan Anthony attended the plenary sessions and working sessions of the Assembly, and also addressed greetings to its participants. On the sidelines of the Assembly, the DECR Chairman met with the Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, Dr. Jerry Pillay, and the Secretary General of the Christian Conference of Asia, Dr. M.D. Chunakara, the president of the National Council of Churches of India Metropolitan of Kunnamkulam Geevargis Mar Julios (Malankara Church), the leadership of the national councils of a number of churches in the Asian region.
Prime Minister of Kerala Pinaraya Vijayan attended the plenary session of the Assembly on September 30.
The Christian Conference of Asia was founded in 1957 and is the oldest regional Christian organization. Its purpose is to promote cooperation between Christians in the region and to promote the development of inter—church relations. The Conference unites the majority of Christian churches in Asia and acts as the largest inter-Christian dialogue platform in this part of the world.
On September 28, the DECR Chairman met with the Primate of the Malankara Church of India, His Holiness Catholicos Basil Mar Thomas Matthew III.
On September 29, Bishop Anthony visited the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kottayam (Kerala), where he met with members of the teaching corporation and students.
On October 1, the DECR chairman and his accompanying persons were present at the divine service in the Church of the Apostle Thomas in Kangazha and at the celebrations on the occasion of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Sunday school operating at the temple. Metropolitan Anthony addressed the participants of the festive event with a welcoming speech.
During the visit, the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate also visited a number of temples and institutions of the Malankara Church, including: the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos in Niranam, where he was warmly welcomed by the rector of the church, managing the affairs of the Malankara Church, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Niranam; the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Parumala; the International Cancer Research Center named after St. Gregory of Parumal; the Church of St. George the Victorious in Putapalli, whose parish consists of more than a thousand families. Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk met and communicated with hierarchs, clergy and believers of the Malankara Church.
According to the materials of the DECR