On 24 May 2012, the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, the commemoration day of Ss Cyril and Methodius, Teachers of the Slavs, and the Day of Slavic Literature and Culture; after the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and His Beatitude Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece, accompanied by hierarchs and clergymen, led a cross procession with the miracle-working Iveron icon of the Mother of God from the Assumption Cathedral to St Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square.
On the stylobate of St Basil’s Cathedral, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and His Beatitude Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece said a thanksgiving prayer to the Iberian icon of the Mother of God and to Ss Cyril and Methodius.
Singing at the service was the Moscow Synodal Choir conducted by Alexei Puzakov.
The prayer service opened the Day of Slavic Literature and Culture. On this occasion His Holiness Patriarch Kirill addressed the worshippers with a primatial homily.
The representative of the Presidential Administration read out the message of greetings from the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After that His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece delivered a speech.
The Primate of the Russian Church said in response:
“Your Beatitude, I cordially thank you for your kind words. It has become a tradition to open the Day of Slavic Literature and Culture together with the Primates of our fraternal Local Churches. We are praying for unity of the whole Orthodox world. And today we have been also praying for Greece which is undergoing hard times. We hope that the Greek people’s wisdom, strength, talents, and diligence will help to go through those trials that befell your country these days.
Our Orthodox solidarity is very important. It is expressed in prayer and in cooperation, and may God help us to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace and to preserve brotherly relations between Orthodox countries and peoples. I wholeheartedly welcome Your Beatitude and your delegation. Once again, I congratulate all of you, my dears, on this feast. May God’s blessing be with you!”
The opening ceremony continued with a performance by the State Kuban Cossacks Chorus.