Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti pose for photo as they exchange gifts during a meeting in the Danilov monastery in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 22, 2012. Mario Monti will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia arrived for a three-day visit to Kyiv on Thursday, July 26, to mark the 20th anniversary of the service of Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine and the anniversary of the Christianization of Kyiv Rus.
"I would like to express my deep satisfaction and joy at the chance to be on holy Ukrainian land again," the patriarch told journalists at the Kyiv airport.
The patriarch wished that "the Lord help everyone to lead their life in a way that strengthens the spiritual and moral values that we received from the Kyiv Christianization font, that fertilizes the people's life, and enables the people to motivate their deeds by the great moral values contained in the Gospel."
The patriarch hosted a conference of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in Kyiv on Thursday, July 26.
On Friday, the patriarch is to conduct a prayer on St. Volodymyr's Hill near the monument to St. Volodymyr, who is believed to adopted Christianity in the Kyiv Rus. Then a ceremony celebrating the 20th anniversary of Metropolitan Volodymyr's service will take place at the Ukraina Palace.
On the evening of July 27, Patriarch Kirill will hold a prayer service on Soborna Square at the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery.
On July 28, when Ukraine and Russia celebrate the Christianization of the Kyiv Rus, a divine liturgy service will take place on Soborna Square. After the service, Patriarch Kirill will lay flowers at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier and at the monument to the victims of the mass famine in Ukraine.