2016-02-19 16:11:00

Russian and Catholic Church to exchange shrines for their believers to venerate during this year

Moscow, January 19, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate expects development of mutual pilgrimage with the Catholic Church and exchange of shrines.

"Our believers will be spiritually inspired if relics of the saints venerated in our Church, but kept in the Catholic Church, are brought to Russia. The reverse movement is certainly possible, I mean the shrines of the Russian Orthodox Church can be taken to the West so that believers of the Catholic Church can venerate them," head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said in his interview with Interfax-Religion.

Answering the question if it may happen in the nearest future, he said: "I think the first exchange of shrines is possible during the year."

According to the interviewee of the agency, the pope and the patriarch at their meeting said that the two Churches should be more open to each other in the field of pilgrimage.

"For example, a big flow of Orthodox pilgrims comes to relics of St. Nicholas in Italian Bari. Pilgrims from the Catholic Church also come to Orthodox shrines. We can intensify these two flows, as it is very important for people to meet each other, to have access to shrines of the other Church," he stressed.

See the full text of interview under the Exclusive heading.