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We didn’t see this coming. Nope. Not at all, not at all. NFTU

CARACAS, October 24 (Itar-Tass) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met with Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad Kirill on Thursday evening. The Russian church hierarch was leading an authoritative Russian delegation at Russia’s Days in Venezuela that are already over.

The interlocutors discussed a wide range of international problems, further development of Venezuelan-Russian relations, broader spiritual and cultural ties between the peoples of the countries. The meeting highlighted the importance of further shaping of a multi-polar world order, the preservation of spiritual and cultural values of the peoples, a role of religion in international relations, Metropolitan Kirill told Itar-Tass after a meeting with the Venezuelan leader.

Metropolitan Kirill noted that he familiarized the president with the foundations of the social concept of the Russian Orthodox Church with a focus on the problems of church-state relations and “on the problems emerging from the phenomenon of globalisation.” The sides
agreed that “an idea of justice regarding political, social and economic problems is based on Christian values”. Hugo Chavez stressed his adherence to Christian values and asked Metropolitan Kirill to give him a blessing.

The Russian church hierarch presented to Hugo Chavez a replica of the Icon of the Derzhavnaya Mother of God and told a story about the epiphany of this icon on the day of abdication of last Russian tsar Nicholas II. The Venezuelan president asked Metropolitan Kirill to go to his home chapel and chant the Ave Maria prayer in the old Slavonic language.

At the end of the meeting Hugo Chavez proposed to build a Russian Orthodox temple in Caracas “that would a worthy architectural and spiritual symbol of the developing relations between Russia and Venezuela,” Metropolitan Kirill told Itar-Tass.

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