title: 'Russian Orthodox leader on first trip to China' published: true publish_date: '31-08-2016 14:56' taxonomy: category:

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    The Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on Sunday held a service in Beijing on his first ever visit to Communist-ruled China. He had earlier met with Chinese President Xi Jinping - both men acknowledged the good relations between the giant neighbours. Patriarch Kirill on his first ever official visit to China- gallery Clad in an ornate red and gold robe, Kirill held the service for about 300 people in a tent on the grounds of the Russian embassy in Beijing amid tight security. Orthodoxy Orthodoxy is the second-largest Christian community in the world after the Roman Catholic Church, with an estimated 225–300 million members worldwide. In Russia, Orthodoxy accounts for 75% of religious followers. In China, it was granted autonomy by its mother church, the Russian Orthodox Church, in 1956. Patriarch Kirill was set to meet with members of the Orthodox community within China during his visit, and also with high-ranking Chinese officials, including those responsible for religious affairs. Followers in China are required to worship in state-approved churches. President cites good relations The patriarch met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, the first day of his five-day visit to China. The Chinese President Xi Jinping called the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s visit to the country an indication of the good relations the two countries today enjoy. “You are the first Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and the first high-ranking religious leader from Russia to visit our country. This is clear testimony to the high-level of Russian-Chinese relations,” Xi Jinping said at the meeting with Patriarch Kirill in Beijing. For his part, Patriarch Kirill stressed that Russia greatly values the fact that President Xi chose the country as the destination for his first foreign trip in March, saying that this is “testimony to the special relationship between Russia and China which has developed in recent years.” "Russia and China should understand and support each other in countering challenges,"he was further quoted as saying. Once bitter foes during the Cold War, Russia and China have increased cooperation in recent years to counterbalance US global influence. Patriarch Kirill on his first ever official visit to China

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