(Sofia) Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, will be on an official visit to Bulgaria from 2nd to 4th March, invited by the Bulgarian Patriarch, Neofit, and by the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman rule. On March 3rd – Bulgaria’s national holiday –, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church will pay tribute to the soldiers killed in the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878 with a moleben service in the sanctuary of Scipka, the theatre of the final battle. In the evening, the two Patriarchs will attend the state celebrations for the national holiday. On March 4th, in the patriarchal cathedral dedicated to the Russian martyr St Alexander Nevski, Neofit and Kirill will officiate a holy liturgy. Patriarch Kirill’s programme includes institutional meetings with the Bulgarian authorities. The purpose of the visit is “to strengthen bilateral relationships between the Russian and the Bulgarian Orthodox Churches and to emphasise the special role played by Orthodoxy in the centuries-old, fraternal bonds between the two Slavic peoples”, the Patriarchate of Moscow states. “Through faith, today’s man can judge the world that surrounds him – Kirill said in an interview with the Bulgarian media –. The role of the Church is to help him, not only to go mainstream but to remain free by freely appraising what happens based on his Christian beliefs”.