05 May 2006, 17:13
Moscow Patriarchate representative in Strasbourg thanks his Vatican colleague for respect of Russian Church's position
Vienna, May 5, Interfax - Hegumen Philaret Bulekov, Russian Orthodox Church representative in Strasbourg, expressed gratitude to the Vatican's representative at the Council of Europe for respect of the Moscow Patriarchate's position, 'especially in debates on problems existing in our canonical territory'.
He stated that on Friday at the Conference 'To Give a Soul to Europe. The Mission and Responsibility of the Churches' held in Vienna.
'We have already accumulated a positive experience of cooperation between our two Churches in Strasbourg. It involves continued exchange of information, mutual consultations, as well as support for each other's positions. This experience should be certainly developed', the priest said.
He also stressed that at the Council of Europe at present, only two Churches - Orthodox and Catholic - 'really make active steps to study the agenda, to explain the positions of religious organizations and possible consequences of particular decisions to the Council staff, PACE deputies and other participants in the debates'.
The representative of the Russian Church expressed the hope that the establishment of a Council of Religious Representatives at the Council of Europe 'will enable us to make our common efforts more effective and to come out with our own initiatives, seeking to include urgent problems of religious life in the agenda of this organization'.
The priest expressed the conviction that it is necessary today to organize a consolidated defense of churches' positions in Europe. 'When necessary, we should support one another in such matters as the situation of churches in Greece, Italy, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and other countries', he said.
He believes 'the time has come to pose before the world community with all the certainty the problem of the situation of Christians and preservation of Christian heritage in Kosovo'.
'It is only through churches' common efforts in the European public space that it is possible to preserve Europe as a cultural community', Father Philaret stated.