On November 11, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, Acting Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, and a delegation from the Foundation for the Support of Christian Culture and Heritage visited the Republika Srpska as part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the capital of the Republic, Banja Luka, they were received at his residence by Bishop Ephraim of Banja Luka.
A warm and long conversation took place, in which the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior of the Banja Luka Diocese, Archpriest Dragan Maksimovich, rector of the Epiphany Church in Banja Luka, Archpriest Zoran Paikanovich, Executive Director of the E.I. Skopenko Foundation and his deputy A.G. Nikitenko participated.
Bishop Ephraim of Banja Luka cordially welcomed the guests and expressed his kind feelings towards the Russian Orthodox Church and its shrines, in particular, to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, within the walls of which he received a spiritual education, studying in 1971-1975 at the Moscow Theological Academy. The hierarch also shared his opinions on the situation in the Orthodox world, on the need to strengthen its unity on the basis of unshakable canonical foundations, on the development of fraternal cooperation between the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches in educational, pilgrimage and other spheres. Russian Russian Bishop Ephraim dwelt in detail on the implementation of the construction project in Banja Luka of a Russian-Serbian church and a spiritual and cultural center attached to it as a symbol of Russian-Serbian friendship. The temple is being built according to a project prepared in 2017-2018 by specialists of the Moscow Architectural Institute based on architectural solutions of the Chudov Monastery in Moscow.
Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk conveyed greetings and good wishes from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the DECR, to the Hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
After the conversation, gifts were exchanged.
Then the guests were offered a tour of the temples of Banja Luka. In the Church of the Holy Trinity, they worshiped the relics of the Holy Martyr Platon, Bishop of Banja Luka, brutally murdered by the Ustashe in 1941 and who is the heavenly patron of the Diocese of Banja Luka, visited the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Epiphany Church, got acquainted with the construction of the Russian-Serbian church and spiritual and cultural center.
On the same day, the delegation visited the monastery in the name of St. Matrona of Moscow in the village of Riteshich near the town of Doboy, where they were warmly welcomed by the abbot Abbot Isaiah (Lukich). Russian Russian architectural style is used in the monastery's buildings, including the church of the same name, as it is intended as an object for events aimed at strengthening Russian-Serbian friendship. Currently, with the support of the Russian Orthodox Church, with the help of the Foundation for the Support of Christian Culture and Heritage, the masters of the Moscow Architectural Institute are painting the main temple of the monastery in honor of St. Matrona.