President celebrates in Serbian church in Moscow
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday morning in Moscow marked his family's patron saint day dedicated to St. Nicholas.Source: Sputnik
Vucic, who is on a state visit to Russia, took part in religious rituals associated with the celebration - know in Serbian as (krsna) slava and unique to Orthodox Christian Serbs - in the Church of Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
Holy liturgy was served by Bishop of Moravica Antonije, who welcomed Vucic on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) and the Russian patriarch, Sputnik is reporting.
"For us, for our church, this is a historic event - for the first time the president of our state comes to the renewed Representation, and you are the first president who will enter the history of this temple for being the first to visit after the October Revolution. I find it a great honor to welcome you on behalf of the entire Serbian diaspora, on behalf of our Ambassador Slavenko Terzic and the entire embassy, who here in Moscow vigilantly guard our country, protect our country's interests and represent you and the country of Serbia worthily," said the vicar of Serbian Patriarch and the dean of the Representation of the Serbian Patriarchate in Moscow.
The bishop recalled that with his arrival in 2002 the SPC opened its Representation in Moscow, while the church itself was given to the SPC for use in 1999 as a place for Serbs, "and all SPC believers" to gather.
"I wish to congratulate you on your krsna slava," Antonije told Vucic. "Today, as a patriot, as a man who loves his country, you left your home - and we Serbs know the meaning of krsna slava. But, the state's interests are above those of one's family, of one's own personal interests, which speaks to your great love toward your state, that you are representing consistently."
Serbian cabinet ministers Aleksandar Vulin and Nenad Popovic and Ambassador Terzic also attended the service on Monday, along with believers and representatives of the Serb diaspora who are today celebrating St. Nicholas Day.
Vucic arrived in Moscow on Monday and will on Tuesday meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ahead of this meeting, he spoke with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin about the strategic partnership between their countries, energy and Russia's support on Kosovo and Metohija, and also the situation in the region and economic cooperation.