In Moscow, Orthodox Christian churches draw closer

May 25, 2010
orthodox

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (C), Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill (R) and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I meet in Moscow's Kremlin, May 25, 2010/Dmitry Astakhov

President Dmitry Medvedev warmly welcomed the spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians Tuesday, hailing improving ties between Russia’s powerful church and its ancestor faith.  Relations among the Orthodox have improved after past strains when churches in former Soviet states such as Estonia and Ukraine broke away from the Russian mother church and tried to pledge allegiance to the patriarch in Istanbul.

“The visit of your Holiness is a significant event and, beyond all doubt, it will help strengthen the dialogue which always linked the two sisterly churches,” Medvedev told Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, according to a transcript published by the Kremlin.

Russia’s influential Patriarch Kirill has assigned a high priority to improving inter-faith relations since his election last year. Church sources say dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church has improved markedly.

The previous day, the two patriarchs led a procession of 40,000 through central Moscow to commemorate the name days of Cyril and Methodius, the saints who brought Orthodoxy to the Slavs in the ninth century.

“This is an extraordinary visit,” said Father Mark Arey, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, an expert on relations between Moscow and Constantinople.  “It signals a real synergy for world Orthodoxy and shows they (the patriarchs) are working toward solutions of the problems they have.”

Read the full story here.

Follow FaithWorld on Twitter at RTRFaithWorld


No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/