"As long as she [Mother of God] keeps Russia and Greece under her protecting veil we will be alive. May God grant that the origins of our spiritual affinity are not disregarded… by our statesmen. We will remind about them if they are neglected," the patriarch said as he spoke at the opening of the exhibition dedicated to ties between Russia's Orthodox Church and Greece's Mount Athos.
The Holy Mount Athos located on a peninsula in northeastern Greece is a famous monastic center with 17 Greek cloisters, one Russian named after St. Panteleimon, one Bulgarian and one Serbian. The district enjoys autonomous status within the Greek Republic.
Russia and Greece celebrate 2016 as a cross-cultural year, marking the millennial anniversary since the first Russian settlement on the Holy Mount Athos.