02 October 2007, 12:52
Alexy II does not exclude meeting with Pope of Rome as soon as after a year or two
Moscow, October 2, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia has said his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI of Rome can take place as soon as in the nearest future.
“Concerning the possibility of meeting Benedict, I don't exclude anything. Maybe not in a month, but in a year or two,” he told in an interview with the French daily Le Figaro before his visit to France, which is to begin on October 1.
“But we must prepare carefully (for the meeting - IF) and resolve all difficulties”, Alexy II stressed.
At the same time, in his interview to another French periodical, La Vie magazine, the primate of the Russian Church stated that “a visit by the pope is not being considered”, adding, “But we have never rejected the possibility of personal talks with the pope, even in the most dramatic periods in our relations.”
According to Alexy II, the Russian Church has always viewed a possible meeting between “the leaders of the two largest Christian Churches as real improvement in Orthodox-Catholic relations, not as a formal event to be covered by the world media.”
Asked to assess Orthodox-Catholic relations, the patriarch said that the priority for the two Churches today is “to assert the evangelical values and the Christian way of life” and that their common witness is based on the two Churches' close positions on many burning issues of today.
“It is obvious that such tendencies as aggressive secularism, religious relativism, the confining of religion to the sidelines of public life, the propaganda of consumerism, and the revision of ethical norms require a joint Christian response, which the Orthodox and Catholic Churches must provide,” Alexy II stressed.