Putin Pays Respect to St. John Relics, Honors Bulgarian Patriarch
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin completed his state visit to Sofia by paying respect to the relics of St. John the Baptist and by meeting with His Holiness Maxim, Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
After Putin met with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, he was again with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who accompanied his Russian counterpart to the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in downtown Sofia, the largest Bulgarian church named after the 13th century Russian prince St. Alexander Nevsky (1220-1263 AD) honored as a defender of Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
Putin lit a candle and paid respects to the relics of St. John the Baptist discovered in July in the Bulgarian Black Sea town of Sozopol, which happened to be on display in Sofia.
Putin was then received by the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Maxim, who tanked the Russian leader for his contribution to the development of the Russian Orthodox Church.
"It is a great honor for me to meet with you, and to visit this temple, which is one of the brightest symbols of the spiritual and historic closeness of our peoples," Putin told Patriarch Maxim presenting him with an icon of "Our Lady of Kazan", representing the Virgin Mary as the protector and patron of the city of Kazan.
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