The importance of the collaboration of the two Churches to support Christians in the Middle East reiterated. The pilgrimage of St. Nicholas's relics, "a small brick in building a new relationship". Hilarion: There was no talk of a meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - "Joint support to Middle Eastern Christians will help bring the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church closer at the highest level," said the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill during his meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, held yesterday afternoon in the patriarchal residence of the monastery of St. Daniel in Moscow.
"Our Church actively participates in the destination of humanitarian aid for the victims of the conflict in Syria and the other states of the Near East. And in this work it is very important to count on the widest support of the whole Christian world. I believe that the mutual relations between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church in securing humanitarian aid in the Middle East would be an important unifying factor. Our shared positions give us the opportunity to make concrete plans in this sense, "Kirill said.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church recalled that a joint working group for the provision of humanitarian aid was launched in 2016 and he expressed the hope that the continuation of the joint work would push for new projects to bring relief to the Christians in the Middle East region. "I think that by developing collaboration in this area, we can lay the foundations for common projects linked to the lives of those who suffer from war conflicts in the Near East," the Patriarch reiterated.
During the meeting, representatives of the two main Christian Churches also discussed the situation in Ukraine. According to the Patriarch, the Church must be a factor of pacification and not to interfere in the conflict: "When human beings are in conflict with one another, the Church can play no other role than that of peace-maker. If the Church does not participate directly in the conflict and maintains its potential for reconciliation, it can become an important factor for understanding men. "
The two sides exchanged views on the outcome of the pilgrimage of the relics of Saint Nicholas the Taumaturgo, whose translation Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis had agreed during the historic meeting of Havana in February 2016. As the Vatican Secretary of State noted, this event has had a great impact on relations between the Churches.
"This aspect accelerates our forward movement in the relations between our Churches. Of course I was very happy to see that this event took place, and as it was welcomed by the Russian Orthodox Church, and I am delighted with the results of it. It can be said that one of the consequences of the arrival of the relic is the new climate, the new positive atmosphere that helps us to communicate, a small brick in building a new relationship, "observed the Holy See representative.
At the end of the meeting, Patriarch Kirill gave Card. Parolin an icon of the Mother of God and his book "Freedom and Responsibility" in Italian, a collection of his "social" speeches, in which "the relations of Christians with modern liberal values are discussed", as metropolitan Hilarion, the patriarch’s primary collaborator, explained.
Answering a question about a possible encounter between Pope Francis and the Patriarch of Moscow, Hilarion said that the issue was not addressed during the interview: "For now this idea was not brought up by either side. We are faced with the great challenges that have been identified during the Havana encounter, and we must address these, "added the metropolitan.