11/23/2016, 11.10
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Patriarch Kirill renews his commitment to working with the Vatican for peace in Syria

by Marta Allevato

A meeting with Card. Koch at Danilovsky Monastery in Moscow. Rebuilding churches and returning the religious life of Syria to normal. Unite the two anti-terrorism coalitions fighting in the Middle East. The Pope donates some relics of St. Francis of Assisi. A reception in the presence of Putin closes the celebrations for the birthday of the Orthodox Patriarch.


Moscow (AsiaNews) - Three days of high-level meetings and celebrations concluded festivities yesterday, November 22 for the 70th anniversary of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill. The last event was a reception in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Belarusian Alexander Lukashenko.

But one of the most significant events was the meeting between the Patriarch and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who arrived in Moscow among the distinguished guests. The Orthodox Primate met him at his residence at the Danilovsky Monastery.

In bilateral, in the presence of the newly appointed apostolic nuncio Msgr. Celestino Migliore, Kirill renewed the hope for further cooperation with the Holy See to restore peace in Syria. "We will continue to work with the Catholic Church of Rome, with its representatives, to do everything possible to end the suffering of the people and bring people to a peaceful life," he said. "I hope that the war will end soon and the issue of the reconstruction of Syria addressed," he said, noting that for Christians "it is also important that the churches are reconstructed and people can return to  normal religious life."

The Patriarch also denounced the inefficiency of the fight against terrorism, carried out in divided way: "There are two coalitions against terrorism, but only coordinated action to achieve concrete goals, can really defeat terrorism."

For his birthday, the Orthodox primate received some relics of St Francis of Assisi from the Pope with a message of greeting. "Thanking you once again for the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov - wrote the Pope, according to reports from the Patriarchate of Moscow – it pleases me to offer a part of the relics of St. Francis of Assisi, my heavenly protector." "May these two wonderful saints - added the pontiff - intercede for us with God so that we may work in a more cohesive way to achieve peace and complete unity. For I pray to Jesus".

Putin also had a gift: an amber mosaic that represents the Holy Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius. "Over the past seven years (of the patriarchate), we have not created a perfect symphony, but we have built a support structure that helps gradually, brick by brick, to build the structure of a symphonic collaboration of the Church, the faithful people and the State, "said Kirill turning to the Russian state leaders present at the reception and recalling the Byzantine ideal of the relationship between church and state, the so-called 'symphony'. Putin also admitted a few days earlier that he does not always agree with the Patriarch but appreciate s his contribution to the dialogue between ethnic groups and religions in Russia.

"May the Lord bless all our countries, all Rus' history, of which I am patriarch, all Slavic brothers, who now live in independent states, but who are nourished by a common historical source, sanctified in the waters of the Dnieper ", Kirill concluded his speech, with implicit reference to Ukraine, the cradle of ancient Rus' and Russian Orthodox Christianity, and whose representatives were not present yesterday in Moscow.

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