VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow, is due to visit Rome from 15 to 20 September at the invitation of Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, according to a communique released by the council.

This will be Archbishop Hilarion's first visit to Rome since he was appointed as president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow to substitute Metropolitan Kirill following the latter's election as Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

The archbishop will be received by the Holy Father and will meet, among others, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Cardinal Walter Kasper; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

"In the wake of the many meetings and conversations with the Patriarch in the past", says the communique, "this visit will confirm the ties of friendship between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, on the solid basis of mutual understanding and respect, with a view to closer collaboration and to favour the presence of the Church in the lives of the peoples of Europe and the world".

CON-UC/VISIT/HILARION:KASPERVIS 090915 (230)


Protection of the Mother of God

Protected by your coming, O Mother of God, * the faithful people celebrate today with splendor, * and, gazing at your most pure image, * we say with compunction: * "Shield us with your precious veil * and deliver us from all evil * imploring your Son, Christ our God, to save our souls.” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin stands forth in the Church, * and with the choirs of saints she invisibly prays to God for us. * The Angels worship with the hierarchs, * and the apostles exult with the prophets, * because, in our behalf, the Mother of God entreats the pre-eternal God. (Kontakion - Tone 3)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God on October 1st.