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Mass media monitoring: interview of Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=2707 07 March 2007, 12:49 Mass media monitoring: interview of Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 7, 2007
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      07 March 2007, 12:49
      Mass media monitoring: interview of Metropolitan
      Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad for Greek Newspaper ‘Vima’

      - Last year the Department for External Church
      Relations celebrated its 60th anniversary. You
      are its coeval. What was the most difficult and
      painful decision that had to be made over these years?

      - The Department for External Church Relations
      was established in 1946. At that time full-scale
      external relations of the Russian Orthodox Church
      were impossible, it was necessary first to
      reestablish relations with the Russian
      emigration, other Local Churches, to create a
      small chancellery, which could develop daily
      relations between the Church and State structures.

      The basis of the modern full-scale and
      multi-sided activity was laid by the founder of
      the Department Metropolitan Nikolai (Yarushevich)
      and his successor Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov).
      They created the Department which subsequently
      faced a hard task of developing relations between
      the Church and the State, the Church and the
      Society, interfaith and inter-confessional ties
      during the collapse of the Soviet Union,
      destruction of stable social connections, during
      the period of breaks and divisions.

      It is rather hard to say which decisions were the
      most painful. There always were a lot of them.
      The main task of the Department has always been
      to provide adequate participation of the Church
      in public life, to keep voice of Orthodoxy heard
      in Russia and the whole world, so that the
      Russian Orthodox Church, no matter what the
      historical circumstances are, accomplishes her main mission – saving people.

      - At the end of November Pope Benedict XVI
      visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Do you
      consider the Pope’s visit to Moscow possible?

      - First of all I would like to remind that even
      when the relations between the Russian Orthodox
      and the Roman Catholic Churches were most
      complicated, we never excluded the possibility of
      the Pope’s visit to Russia or his meeting with
      His Holiness Alexy, Patriarch of Moscow and All
      Russia somewhere else. But it is our conviction
      that this historical event should testify
      positive tendency in relations between our
      Churches. It could be reached only if several
      concrete problems that exist between us are
      solved – missionary activity of Catholics in
      Russia and other CIS countries and conflict
      between Orthodox and Greek Catholic believers in
      Ukraine. I am sure that the basis for the
      improvement of our relations can be the closeness
      of our Churches’ positions on such problems as
      morality, bioethics, protection of tradition Christian values.

      - There was information that you interfered in
      the situation with the Monastery of Esphigmen,
      demanding that the Ecumenical Patriarch does not
      permit the expulsion of the brethren, settled
      down in the monastery. What exactly did you
      demand from the Ecumenical Patriarch and what
      would be your answer to those, who accused you of
      interfering in the internal affairs of the Holy
      Mountain, which is under the jurisdiction of Patriarch Bartholomew?

      - In this case you are obviously mentioning the
      distorted account of the events which took place
      four years ago. As you remember, in 2003 the
      conflict around the monastery of Esphigmen in
      Athos sharpened. The press reported that one of
      the monks died during the attempt to penetrate
      into the blocked convent, different dates of the
      assault were sounded. The further escalation of
      the conflict could cause new victims, which we
      consider intolerable at this holy place. We
      shared our concern with the Church of
      Constantinople. We did not demand anything. It
      becomes obvious if you see the address, published
      on the official site of the Russian Orthodox
      Church. Quite the opposite, we stated that our
      Church respects the jurisdiction of the
      Constantinople See and has no intention to
      interfere in the events on the Holy Mountain.

      February 25, 2007
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