04 June 2013, 09:53
Patriarch Kirill says pilgrimage development from Russia to help Greece to cope with crisis
Athens, June 4, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said he urged to develop religious tourism in the Russian-Greek relations.
"Pilgrimage is not seasonal tourism, not people going to the seaside, so they can come at any time. If pilgrimage is successfully enhanced, then this will have spiritual meaning, will bring us closer, will strengthen relations between the Churches more and will contribute to the economy of your country," the patriarch said at a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens.
The patriarch said that it was currently important for Greece to develop the spheres, which would bring income quickly and that the Russian Church attached great importance to the religious tourism and pilgrimage development.
Patriarch Kirill said that Russia had also survived a crisis "having gone through utter collapse of the economic and political systems when the Soviet Union fell."
"But of course, in the past ten to twelve years, especially after President Putin came to power, a lot has changed in Russia and now we live in an utterly different country. So we have a very clear understanding of the mood and the feelings the Greek people currently experience having found themselves in economic trouble," the patriarch said.
Patriarch Kirill said that Greeks were a heroic nation, "a nation which preserved itself throughout thousands of years and which is a carrier of the highest antic and Christian culture."
"Such nations do not disappear, they can fight. I would like to assure you that the Russian Church and Russian people are together with you in this fight of the Greek people for their future," the patriarch said.
Samaras said he thanked the Russian Church for the financial support it gave to Greece during the crisis. The Greek prime minister said that he believed in the power of the Greek people, who were spiritually strong and who would overcome the difficulties they were experiencing.
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