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New Russian patriarch reaches out to Jews

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://jta.org/news/article/2009/02/04/1002762/new-russian-patriarch-reaches-out-to-jews New Russian patriarch reaches out to Jews February 4, 2009 MOSCOW
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 4, 2009
      http://jta.org/news/article/2009/02/04/1002762/new-russian-patriarch-reaches-out-to-jews

      New Russian patriarch reaches out to Jews

      February 4, 2009

      MOSCOW (JTA) -- The newly elected head of the Russian Orthodox Church
      reached out to Jewish leaders.

      Patriarch Kirill, who was elected at a session in Moscow last week
      and enthroned Sunday, has ties to the Jewish world going back decades.

      His predecessor, Patriarch Alexy, traveled to the United States to
      speak to the Park East synagogue in New York City shortly after the
      fall of the Soviet Union removed restrictions on the church. Since
      then, Patriarch Kirill, who served as the church's interfaith and
      international liaison, has visited New York multiple times.

      The Russian Orthodox Church has a troubled history with Jews in
      Eastern Europe stemming from centuries of hateful rhetoric and ethnic
      cleansing. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Jewish and Russian
      Orthodox leaders have sought closer ties in a country where there are
      four official religions.

      Rabbi Arthur Schneier, the head of New York's Park East Synagogue and
      The Appeal of Conscience Foundation, attended Patriarch Kirill's
      enthronement and visited his residence on Tuesday, where they
      discussed the future of interfaith dialogue.

      "The Jewish community is in the minority, therefore it's very
      important to have a good working relationship with the majority,"
      Schneier told JTA. "You want to judge the stability of a country by
      how the majority treats the minority."

      Leaders of the Russian Jewish community also sent their regards and
      their desire to work together more closely with the Russian Orthodox
      Church in the future.
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