15 November 2005, 12:43
Russian church favors further dialogue with Vatican
Moscow, November 15, Interfax - Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad Kirill has confirmed that the Russian Orthodox Church is committed to continuing its dialogue with the Vatican.
"Our position is that this dialogue, which has been broadly discussed by the Catholic Church as well, should continue. Our commission is an adequate instrument of such a dialogue," Metropolitan Kirill, who heads the Moscow Patriarchate's foreign relations department, told a news conference at Interfax on Tuesday.
"In our address to the Catholic Church, we again suggest launching a serious dialogue and reviving our joint working group that looked into conflicts. To my regret, the group's work has been virtually stalled through no fault of ours," he said.
The working group, which was set up after Cardinal Walter Kasper's visit in February 2004, held its first session in March.
The task of protecting Christian values dominates the agenda on international cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican, the metropolitan said.
"Cooperation between Orthodoxy and Catholicism in the international arena is extremely important. We believe that this cooperation should be given top priority. Nothing in our relations should hamper it," he said.
The metropolitan said he met with Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican in April.
"I had an opportunity to meet with him. Our discussion was quite long and addressed the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue in light of the need to protect Christian values, which, to our regret, are losing their influence on life in Europe and life in some other places outside Europe," he said.