Mr Putin and Mr Parvnanov lit candles and prayed before the relics of St Alexander Nevsky, presented as a gift to the cathedral by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexii II in October 1998 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of a Bulgarian Orthodox church complex in Moscow.
Patriarch of Bulgaria Maxim presented Mr Putin with an icon of St Tsar Boris the Baptiser of Bulgaria. Mr Putin presented Patriarch Maxim with a copy in Bulgarian of the writings of Schema-Archimandrite Ioann (Maslov) on the works of St Tikhon Zadonsky.
The St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is the Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s main cathedral. It was built between 1882 and 1912 to honour the Russian soldiers who gave their lives in the struggle to liberate Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke. The cathedral is the largest in Bulgaria and is the biggest Orthodox church building in the Balkans.