Rome, August 30, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia welcomes Pope Benedict XVI's initiative to promote inter-church dialogue, but said some terms must be fulfilled before a personal meeting with the pope could take place.
"Pope Benedict has said on many occasions that he wants to promote dialogue and cooperation with the Orthodox Churches, and this is a positive occurrence," Alexy II said in an interview published by the Italian newspaper Il Giornale.
A meeting with the pope must be thoroughly prepared, he said.
"It must not be merely an occasion for a few photos or for an appearance before TV cameras. It must strengthen ties between our two Churches," Alexy II said.
"Even now, some of the Catholic bishops and missionaries see Russia as a territory of missionary activities. But Russia, Holy Rus, which has been permeated with faith for centuries and the Orthodox Church, guarded with God's blessing, is not a place for missionary activities," he said.
Alexy II said that it is the first issue to be settled before organizing a meeting.
The second one is the activities of the Greek Catholics Church. "We are concerned about the Uniates as a phenomenon and we can see this tendency even in the regions where it was not common - in eastern Ukraine, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan and even in Russia," the patriarch said.
"When these issues are settled an opportunity will emerge for a meeting, and it will have sense then," Alexy II said.