2006-09-11 12:23:00

Unification of Orthodox Church with its branch abroad will not be fast - Alexy II

Kaliningrad, September 11, Interfax - The process of unification of the Russian Orthodox Church with its branch abroad will not be fast, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia believes.

‘The processes of unification of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) has been long. The division has lasted for 80 years for political reasons; there are no such reasons today’, the patriarch said in a talk with journalists in Kaliningrad on Sunday.

He noted that in the unification process it should be realized that ‘these are unequal entities as the Moscow Patriarchate has 27 thousand parishes, while the Church Abroad 280 parishes. But the unification is underway and it is a great happiness’, the patriarch stressed.

When the Church Abroad was founded, Alexy II reminded the journalists, its founders used to say that upon its return to free Russia, accounts about the work of the ROCOR would be given to the Moscow Patriarchate. Today however, the patriarch added, ‘we do not demand any accounts’.

‘We are glad that just as Russian shrines return to Russia so people who lived abroad return to the Russian Orthodox Church’, the primate said.