On January 23, during a working trip to Syria, Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, visited the Khmeimim base of the group of troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the Syrian Arab Republic.
Metropolitan Anthony was accompanied by Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, advisor to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, Deputy Chairman of the DECR, Archimandrite Philip (Vasiltsev), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Priest Alexander Ershov, assistant to the DECR Chairman, as well as the defense attache of the Russian Embassy in Syria, Rear Admiral O.V. Kornienko and E.I. Skopenko, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Support of Christian Culture and Heritage.
The DECR Chairman met with the commander of the group of troops, Colonel-General A.N. Serdyukov, who spoke about the activities of the base and the life of Russian servicemen. At the end of the meeting, the interlocutors exchanged memorable gifts.
Metropolitan Anthony visited the field church in the name of the Prophet of God Elijah, where he performed a short prayer service to this saint.
Accompanied by A.N. Serdyukov, Metropolitan Anthony inspected military equipment, visited the museum of the base, where he left an entry in the Book of Honored Guests.
Then the hierarch met with the personnel of the base. Metropolitan Anthony told the servicemen about his visit to Syria, about the historical ties of friendship that unite the Syrian and Russian peoples, and expressed gratitude to the Russian soldiers for their sacrificial military service, which is the key to peace and stability in the Syrian land.