Patriarch Kirill to open Chornobyl memorial campaign in Kyiv

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Apr. 21, 2011 14:35
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The monument to Chernobyl nuclear plant rescuers in the Kiev Region, Ukraine.
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Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will attend the opening ceremony of memorial events to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Chornobyl Power Plant accident.
"He will ring the Chornobyl bell on the night of the catastrophe at 01:23 a.m.," Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, deputy head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, said at a Moscow - Kyiv video conference.

The ceremony will be held in the church complex located in the Darnytsia District of Kyiv. The Darnytsia district is the one where the memorial Chornobyl campaign starts each year.

According to Father Nikolay, Patriarch will visit Ukraine together with Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Byelorussia and hierarchs in charge of dioceses affected by nuclear pollution.

Archbishop Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, in his turn, said during his trip on April 25-27, Patriarch would conduct services, including the prayer for the dead at the Chornobyl power plant, visit the monument to Chornobyl heroes and meet with the patients of the National Cancer Hospital many of whom still "suffer the consequences of the Chornobyl catastrophe."

President of the Ukrainian Chornobyl Union Yuriy Andreyev expressed hope that Patriarch's visit would help bringing the Chornobyl exclusion zone "back to normal life" within the decade to come. He said the radiation level at the station 50-60 times exceeded the norm, however, Patriarch's blessing would not take long and his stay there would not "seriously affect his health."

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