A course for Catholics organized by the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The initiative, now in its fourth session, is part of a series of study exchanges that in May saw an Orthodox delegation in Rome. The program also includes a visit to the most significant places of Russian Orthodoxy.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - A training course for representatives of the Catholic Church opens in Moscow on August 24. They will attend a program prepared for them by the Moscow Patriarchate until 2 September.

This was announced by the press service of the Department for external ecclesiastical affairs of the Patriarchate, recalling that it is the fourth appointment of this kind.

After some years of frosty relations, starting 2016 the Russian Orthodox Church began to share several initiatives with the Catholic Church, such as these study exchanges that the Orthodox themselves took advantage of last May, sending their own delegation to Rome.

The Patriarchate specified that the course that opens in Moscow fits "into the context of strengthening the academic and humanitarian collaboration between the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Holy See, with the financial support of the Mondo Russo Foundation and the Catholic charitable foundation Urbi et Orbi ".

The Catholic delegation, composed of about fifteen priests and students, will be led by the bishop of the city of Saint Die 'des Vosges in France, Msgr. Didier Berthet, president of the Council for Christian Unity of the French Episcopal Conference. According to the patriarchal representatives, the purpose of the course is "to deepen one's knowledge of Orthodox Christianity and contemporary Russian culture. The central theme of this course will be dedicated to the defense of Christians and the preservation of traditional Christian values ​​in today's society ".

The program also includes contact and direct knowledge of the work of the various Synodal departments of the Patriarchate, the visit to the shrines and the most significant places in Moscow, Sergiev Posad (where the monastery of the Holy Trinity of St. Sergiy of Radonezh is located) ), of Novgorod and St. Petersburg, together with various meetings with the protagonists of Russian ecclesial, cultural and social life.

The highlight of the visit will be the meeting with the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev), who has just returned from a long pastoral visit to the "great north" of Russia. The head of the Russian Orthodox has proposed a great pastoral program for the lost places beyond the Arctic Circle, such as Vologda, Velikij Ustjug and Novaja Zemlja, and above all for the famous archipelago of the Solovki islands, the historical site of Russian monasticism and the memory of the martyrs of the twentieth century.