2009-07-01 18:10:00

Patriarch Kirill hopes to improve relations with the Constantinople Patriarch during his visit to Turkey

Moscow, July 1, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church says the main objective of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia’s visit to Turkey is restoring relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate and discussing moot points.

“His Holiness Patriarch Kirill wants this visit to open a new page in relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate. We need to give up confrontation and conflicts and create a system of mutual trust as the local Orthodox Churches make one family,” head of the Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk has told journalists on Wednesday commenting on Patriarch Kirill’s meeting with Turkish Ambassador in Russia Halil Akinci.

According to Archbishop Hilarion, future relations of the two Churches should exclude a situation similar to the one developed in Estonia in 1996. The Archbishop noted, then “Constantinople unilaterally proclaimed its jurisdiction and it resulted in a conflict situation, which still remains unsettled.”

“We hope that Patriarchs of the two great Churches in fraternal communication will find the way to agree over the format of relations, format that will exclude such misunderstanding and be based on total mutual trust and fraternal love,” Archbishop Hilarion said.

He also reminded that Patriarch Kirill had more than once pointed out that “victory” in the inter-Orthodox dialogue is impossible for only one of its participants. According to the Archbishop, such a dialogue should be aimed at victory, at achieving the result acceptable for all.

“Patriarch Kirill will go to Constantinople with the warmest feelings and kind intentions. We hope this visit will also help the Constantinople Patriarch settle his inner problems and we expect this visit to be a success,” the Russian Church official said.

Patriarch Kirill plans to visit Turkey on July 4-6, 2009.