10 June 2013, 10:00
Patriarch Kirill: Russia-Greece relations rest on Orthodoxy
Veria, Greece, June 10, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has argued that "the shared Orthodox faith" underlies what he claimed are close and warm relations between Russia and Greece.
"Talking about the significance of the spiritual factor in relations between our countries, is it the decisive factor because in any era in history, even during the Cold War, we thought of each other as friends and supported each other," Patriarch Kirill told reporters in Veria on Friday, the final day of a visit to Greece.
"The shared Orthodox faith" is the only explanation of this, he said.
In comments on his current visit, he said: "I have been praying with thousands of Greeks, with the clergy, the episcopate, and this has produced a spiritual uplift. Besides, it has given a very correct dimension to my visit: a patriarchal visit is not a political visit, it is a spiritual visit."
Patriarch Kirill called for efforts to cement ties between the Russian and Greek churches. "Then relations between our people will get stronger as well. This has been the main purpose of my visit, and I'm glad that this purpose has become possible to achieve, as far as I can understand," he said.
Besides Veria, the patriarch visited Athens and Thessaloniki and made a pilgrimage to Mount Athos during his stay in Greece.
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