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    » 08/16/2012, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    Patriarch Kirill on first ever visit to Poland

    Nina Achmatova

    For the first time a primate of the Russian Orthodox Church visits the Polish Christian community. From Moscow: no political message in mission.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - The visit of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to Poland, the first of a primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, aims to improve relations between Russians and Poles in the context of a necessary alliance between Christians in the face of the challenges of modernity, says Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Department for External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate. In response to those who, in public opinion and in the Polish nationalist right, see the Patriarchate as the long arm of the Kremlin, engaged in imposing its imperialist agenda on former Soviet nations, Hilarion also ruled out any political content of the visit.

    Invited by Metropolitan Savva of Warsaw, Kirill will remain in Poland from now until August 19. The culmination of four days will be August 17, the Feast of the Transfiguration [according to the orthodox tradition], the primates of the two Orthodox Churches will celebrate a liturgy at the Holy Monastery of Mount Grabarka, among the most venerated places in Poland. The same day, in Warsaw, Kirill and President of the Polish Catholic Bishops Conference, Msgr. Józef Michalik, will sign a joint statement, this too of great historic significance. The document is structured around the concepts of mutual forgiveness and reconciliation between the two peoples and religious communities whose relationships have suffered from the weight of the historical rivalry between the two countries. "Reconciliation is possible only if it is based on a sincere faith and the help that God gives light to every good initiative," Hilarion said in an interview with Interfax Religion.

    "It 's our profound conviction - he added - that relations between the Russian and Polish peoples, often marred by hatred throughout history, war and enmity, can and must improve." "This is not a matter dictated by the political situation, but the challenge of our times," he added. "When traditional values ​​are questioned by a militant secularism and political correctness," Christians must join forces and defend their idea of ​​right and justice, warned the Metropolitan.

    As reported by the press office of the Moscow Patriarchate, Kirill will visit various parishes and also meet with Polish political leaders in Warsaw: from the head of state, Bronislaw Komorowski, to President of the Senate, Bogdan Borusewicz.

    The voyage of the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church is part of a broader strategy of dialogue launched by the Kremlin with its Polish neighbors in 2010, with the joint construction of the memorial to the victims of Katyn (where, in 1940, the Red Army executed 22 thousand Polish soldiers taken prisoner). The Patriarch himself in mid-July, launched a strong signal by going to visit the monument.


    The hope, in the Patriarchate, is that Kirill's historic trip is not spoiled or hijacked by domestic issues, such as the Pussy Riot case. The verdict on the feminist punk band, guilty of sinning against Putin in the cathedral of Moscow, is expected to occur on August 19. If convicted, the three girls are likely to be handed down three years imprisonment, which is considered excessive by many faithful and priests in the Russian Orthodox community who have repeatedly called for an act of mercy by the Patriarch.

     

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    See also

    02/12/2010 RUSSIA
    Medvedev signs law on restitution of religious property
    Patriarch Kirill rejoices: all outstanding issues between church and state now resolved. But it lacks the support of public opinion still hostile to the new relations between the Patriarchate of Moscow and Kremlin.

    22/03/2012 UKRAINE - RUSSIA
    Greek-catholic Patriarch: Orthodox connivance with Stalin undermines our relations
    The Major Archbishop of Kiev, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, invites Russian Orthodox to recognize their complicity in the persecution of Catholics in the USSR. For the Moscow Patriarchate the Uniate situation is the biggest obstacle to the meeting between Kirill and Pope.

    29/01/2009 VATICAN - RUSSIA
    Pope: continuing dialogue with Russian Orthodox essential
    Receiving the bishops of Russia, Benedict XVI renews his good wishes for Kirill. In spite of the difficulties, the encounters must move forward, because it is important for Christians to face together the serious cultural and ethical challenges of the present time, like the dignity of the person and defense of life and of the family.

    11/03/2015 RUSSIA
    Ukraine, Pope Francis, Charlie Hebdo: Patriarch Kirill releases his first wide-ranging interview with secular media
    The conversation with Tass is dedicated to the themes of Lent, but also to the war in Ukraine, schismatic Orthodox Churches and relations with the Catholic Church.

    29/05/2012 RUSSIA
    Survey, almost half of Russians believe that the church is under attack
    A study of the Vtsiom center reveals that 46% of Russians believe that the Church in need of protection. 53% of respondents were in favor of initiatives such as the day in defense of the faith.



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