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    » 06/04/2014, 00.00

    RUSSIA - VATICAN

    Pope Francis sends message to Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill: I am ready to meet

    Marta Allevato

    AsiaNews sources say the message was brought to Kirill personally by the director of the Sistine Chapel Choir, who performed in the Russian capital while the Pope met with Bartholomew in the Holy Land.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - While on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where he embraced the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, the Pope also sent a "personal message" to the Russian Orthodox Patriarch, Kirill, saying that "he is willing to meet at any place". This is according to AsiaNews sources in Moscow's Synodal Department for External Relations, who say the message was delivered by Msgr. Massimo Palombella, director of the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir, which performed in Moscow on 27 May, to mark the fifth anniversary of the Patriarch's enthronement.

    The Pontiff's words were relayed in private, "in front of very few people" on the margins of the concert held in conjunction with the Synodal Choir of the Moscow Patriarchate. The same sources say that Kirill limited his response to "thanks" for the "precious gift" made ​​to him by "friends in Rome". Several attempts to contact the director of the Sistine Chapel choir for a comment have failed. According to sources in the Catholic community in Moscow, the timing of the message was not random: during the days when he was meeting with Bartholomew -  who the Moscow Patriarchate sees as a rival within the Orthodox world - the Argentinian Pope wanted to reiterate his interest in also having good relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.

    It is not clear whether the offer was met with appreciation by Moscow. On May 28 , Kirill spoke of a "cooling" in relations with the Vatican, linked to Greek - Ukrainian Catholics involvement in the Maidan Square protests in Kiev and their - in his opinion - "Russia-phobic" positions. The primate has warned that the situation in the former Soviet Republic casts "very sad shadow" over relations between the Patriarchate and the Holy See. According to sources in the Orthodox community, the Patriarch's words "were not addressed directly to the Pope, whose work he continues to appreciate, but in general to those in the Catholic Church who have no interest in ecumenical dialogue".

    This position is reflected in recent statements by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations. "There is a part of the Catholic Church that is investing energy, talent and resources to strengthen the interaction between Catholics and Orthodox, while another is doing everything possible to create distrust and enmity", denounced the metropolitan during a June 3 address to a Congress in Minsk.

     

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    See also

    26/08/2004 VATICAN - RUSSIA
    "The handover of the icon of Kazan is an historic event"

    Interview with Mgr. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, Catholic Archbishop of Moscow.



    25/08/2004 RUSSIA - VATICAN
    The Patriarch should be first to see the icon of Kazan, Vatican official told


    26/02/2010 UKRAINE - RUSSIA
    Kirill's blessing for President Yanukovych
    The oath of the new Ukrainian President, was preceded by a ceremony presided over by the Patriarch of Moscow, perhaps a sign of the new Ukraine's dependence on Russia. Yanukovych’s first foreign trip will be to Brussels, but doubtless his close ties with Moscow . Possible ecumenical progress.

    29/08/2004 RUSSIA - VATICAN
    Aleksij II: "Orthodox and Catholics together against secularisation"

    Orthodox Patriarch thanks Pope for the gift of the icon of Kazan.



    15/06/2005 RUSSIA - VATICAN
    Aleksij II optimistic about dialogue with Catholics




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