On May 15, 2013, there was a meeting of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Zhong Yanqun, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Assembly Representation. The meeting was attended by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations; Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Administrative Secretariat; V.R. Legoyda, Chairman of the Synodal Information Department: Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, vice chairman of the Department for External Church Relations; Protodeacon Vladimir Nazarkin, DECR chairman assistant; M.G. Kuksov, head of His Holiness' personal secretariat.
Attending on behalf of the Russian Federation: A.I. Denisov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in the People's Republic; A.N. Smorodin, Russian Consul General in Shanghai.
The PRC participants in the meeting were Zhang Lebin, Deputy Director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs under the State Council of China, representatives of the city authorities.
Ms. Zhong Yanqun warmly welcomed the Leader of the Russian Orthodox Church.
During the meeting the parties discussed the dynamics of religious life in China; the friendly relations between the two nations.
"China's development, we have seen over the last twenty years - of course, is a phenomenon of global importance. The economy, social sphere, political system are evolving. And it is clear that religious life is developing. One can not develop some sectors in society, but not others. Then stress is created, - said the Patriarch addressing the interlocutor. - Religious development takes place in the context of the overall development of China."
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, particularly appreciated the opportunity provided by the Chinese authorities to have a divine service in Shanghai's Orthodox Cathedral.
"The last time there was a service was nearly fifty years ago. And serving the liturgy with me today were two Chinese clergymen of a quite venerable age. They were ordained in the early 50's. And of course, for them it was an event of their lifetime. It was an important event for me also. So I am very grateful for the opportunity to pray with the Chinese Orthodox, with whom have gathered in the church today: Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Moldovans, Georgians, Greeks, Serbs,"- His Holiness said.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia underscored the value of Orthodoxy in China for the development of relations between the two peoples. "The Chinese Church is the bridge that connects the Russian and Chinese peoples," - said the Leader of the Russian Church.
Having mentioned during the meeting that Shanghai has a monument to A.S. Pushkin, His Holiness said: "Pushkin wanted to visit China. And he learned about the country through a Russian Orthodox priest who served in China. He awakened in the heart of our great poet love and sympathy for the land. Here's an example of how Christianity in China may contribute cordial, friendly relations between our two nations."
At the conclusion of the meeting of the Russian Orthodox Church has expressed gratitude to the State Administration for Religious Affairs of China for organizing the visit.