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Russian Congress calls for closeness btw Russian Church branches
03.02.2004, SERGIYEV POSSAD, Moscow region, February 3 (www.itar-tass.com) -
Participants of the 8th World Congress of the Russian People, underway in
the Holy Trinity Monastery near Moscow, have called for a rapprochement
between the Russian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Partiarchate and the
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA).
It is a pleasure for us to point out the positive tendencies that have
taken a clear outline in relations between the mainstream Russian Church and
ROCA, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II said in a speech at the
There is hope now that the division of our Church, produced by the tragic
events of the past century will be eliminated, he said.
Russia must help the nations espousing Eastern Orthodox Christianity to keep
unity as members of an identical civilization, Alexis II said.
Nowadays challenges compel the nations having close cultural and spiritual
traditions to unite, Alexis II said. This is happening at a time when the
integration process is gaining pace and the Moslem nations are
The Eastern Orthodox civilization must consider its role in world
processes, Alexis II said.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II has had a conversation with
officials representing Local Orthodox Churches from foreign countries.
Fairly recently, many Eastern Orthodox Churches were oppressed by
totalitarian regimes, Alexis II said. But now we are evidencing a return
of our nations to the values of Orthodoxy.
Revival goes beyond the restoration of church buildings; it is now
embracing education and social services, he indicated.
Representatives of Orthodox Churches from many countries have taken part in
the sessions of the Congress, as well as made reports at it. Officials from
the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were
Metropolitan Cyril, the chairman of external relations department at Moscow
Patriarchate, dismissed the opinion that ROCA could be ignored because of
having a mere 300 parishes across the world.
Statistic arguments are totally irrelevant when it comes down to the
destiny of the people, whose ancestors made up the cream of Russian
society, His Beatitude Cyril said, adding that reunification of the two
branches of a once united Russian Church might have a good curing effect on
He indicated that the world has around 300 million followers of Eastern
Orthodoxy at the moment, and the Russians make up about a half of them.
Metropolitan Cyril recalled at the same time that there are Arabs,
Americans, Europeans, and representatives of African nations among the
worldwide Eastern Orthodox congregation.
Not only do the Orthodox countries play the role of a bridge between the
Orient and the Occident, they also make up an independent civilization,
based on the idea of mutual servicing rather than domination of some peoples
over others, he said.
Russias Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who also addressed the Congress, said
Russia abides by Christian principles in its foreign policy, as it demands
respectful relations between different countries.
He said the Russian diplomats had been pleased to notice the prospects of
overcoming the divide between the two branches of the Church.
Hierarchs of all the 15 autonomous Eastern Orthodox Churches, the ROCA
followers, and representatives of Russian communities from across the world
are attending the Congress.
The organizers have also invited Russian government officials, activists of
creative unions, scientists and public figures to attend.
February 4, the sessions will continue at St Daniels Monastery in Moscow.
Russias President Vladimir Putin has sent greetings to the participants in
and guests of the 8th World Russian Congress.
For over a decade, your forum has been gathering representatives of the
Russian clergy, scientists, people of artistic professions, intellectuals,
and public activists for a discussion of pressing issues of the countrys
development, Putin said in a telegram of greetings.
The topic of the forum, Russia and the Eastern Orthodox World converges
many vital aspects of nowadays life, he said.
Let me hope that your activity will help tap the ways of solution of the
crucial humanitarian problems, as well as consolidate the spiritual and
moral principles of society, Putin indicated.