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Days of Russia to Take Place in Latin America for First Time
From October 17 – November 17, the Days of Russia celebration will take place in Latin America with the participation of prominent Russian Orthodox bishops and the Moscow Stretensky Monastery Choir. Along with religious and educational activities, the project will include an extensive business program. The event covers seven Latin American countries: Cuba, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.
Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, a spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate, said that the Days of Russia initiative in South America was developed by the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian state institutions working with Russians living abroad.
Balashov highlighted several key points of the program. The first, which will take place on October 19, is the consecration of a Russian Orthodox Church in Havana that was built on the orders of Cuban leader Fidel Castro as a symbol of friendship between the peoples of Russia and Cuba. On October 26 in Rio de Janeiro, a Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at the famous statue of Christ at Mount Corcovado. During the entire month of the celebration, 15 services will be held at parishes belonging to the Argentine and South American diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The church delegation from Moscow will be headed by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, who serves as the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations at the Moscow Patriarchate. In Costa Rica, the delegation will be joined by Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York. The tour also will be joined in Brazil by Metropolitan Platon of Argentina and South America, Bishop John of Caracas and Archbishop Pavel of Ryazan and Kasimov, among others.
The delegation will carry around Latin America the miraculous Mother of God icon found in Kolomenskoe on March 15, 1917 – the day Emperor Nicholas II abdicated. The Moscow Stretensky Monastery Choir will also give a series of secular concerts in theatres and concert halls. Music lovers in Russia and abroad over the past three years have consistently enjoyed performances by the young choir (the average age of members is less than 30 years).
An exhibition entitled “Orthodox Russia” will be displayed along the entire route. The exhibition highlights the life of Russian churches today and spiritual development in society, the revival of sacred sites and the historic significance of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and its reunification with the Moscow Patriarchate. Photographs included in the exhibit show scenes of daily life in regions across Russia – towns and villages, monasteries and churches, monks and priests, builders and restorers, as well as numerous ordinary believers. Particular attention is given to children in the photographs.
One of the most spectacular aspects of the celebration is a festival devoted to Russian film. The program will include showings of The Return, The Stroll, Peter FM, The Star, The Island, and numerous documentaries.
The key activities of the business program will be Russian-Latin American Regional Cooperation Forum and the international conference “Russia and Latin America: Strategic Partnership and Profitable Investments.” Aside from plenary sessions, roundtables, business contact exchanges, and commercial and industrial exhibits, there will be a special presentation of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Organizers of the Days of Russia celebration include the Russian Center for International Scientific and Cultural Cooperation (Rosintercenter), the Russian Orthodox Church, Russia’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Culture, Economic Development, Industry and Trade, Regional Development, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.