Moscow, Russia - The Russian Orthodox Youth Congress will be held abroad this year for the first time in Europe. The Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate has said that the event is scheduled from 1 to 8 July in Paris.
The meeting will bring together over 100 delegates who will receive the blessing of Patriarch Kirill and the primate of the Russian Church Abroad, the Metropolitan of America and eastern New York, Hilarion.
In his letter to Hilarion, the Patriarch of Moscow called it "encouraging that the long tradition of these meetings, which bring together young Christians, vital lymph of the Russian Orthodox Church has found continuation and development in the heart of Europe."
The Congress to be held in Paris is in its 18th edition and will differ from the previous as it is the first to take place after the restoration (in 2006) of the schism between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church abroad. The other youth forums, which began in 1973, took place in the United States, Canada, Australia and Latin America.
With Youth Day, Paris is now a candidate to become the Orthodox reference point on the Old Continent. A great cultural and spiritual centre of the Moscow Patriarchate, including a cathedral, a seminary, a library, living spaces and facilities is due to be built not far from the Eiffel Tower and Élysée Palace, in the French capital. The land was purchased by the Russian state after long negotiations with the French.