2011-09-09 14:05:00

Patriarch Kirill's visit to Syria, Lebanon may be postponed

Moscow, September 9, Interfax - The visit of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to Syria and Lebanon scheduled for this fall may be postponed due to the aggravation of the situation there.

"It is now difficult to speak about the dates of this trip. The Patriarch was ready to go to Syria and Lebanon this fall and even planned to go there last fall, but the visit did not take place because of various circumstances, mainly technical," Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, told a press conference in Moscow on Friday.

Responding to a question from Interfax-Religion as to whether the Patriarch will visit the region this fall, Metropolitan Hilarion said: "It's difficult to say. I would not rule out such a possibility, although I would not be very pessimistic about it. In this situation it would probably be reasonable to postpone the visit."

Metropolitan Hilarion said the visit may take place when "the necessary conditions are available for it, because the visit should first of all be useful to the Antioch Patriarchate, it should contribute to the Middle East settlement and express the solidarity of the Russian Church with the Christians of the Middle East, in this case, the Christians of Syria and Lebanon."