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Top Russian Orthodox ecumenical officer meets with Pope

September 29, 2011

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, the chief ecumenical-affairs officer of the Russian Orthodox Church, met with Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo on September 29.

The Russian prelate, who was meeting the Pontiff for the 3rd time since he assumed his new post with the Moscow patriarchate, old Vatican Radio that “whenever I meet with him I’m encouraged by his spirit, his courage and his dedication to the life of the Church worldwide.” He said that he believes a meeting between Pope Benedict and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill will be arranged eventually, but such a summit meeting “requires careful preparation and we should not be hurrying up or be pressed to have this meeting at a particular point in time."

Metropolitan Hilarion had been in Rome for meetings with Vatican officials to discuss relations between the two churches. He is due next in Milan, where he will meet with Cardinal Angelo Scola and attend a concert of sacred music arranged for a festival of Russian culture.


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  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Sep. 30, 2011 5:36 AM ET USA

    "Eventually" is the key here. This meeting between pope and patriarch has been being "carefully prepared" and "not hurried" for ages and we're still preparing and still not hurrying. There is a fundamental intransigence by the Orthodox who get so very close to meeting and to agreeing and then back off, usually using the "you are prostelyzing in our 'cannonical territory'" excuse. To use the words of a Ukrainian Orthodox poet, "Oh there is not, there is not!" To add mine, "And there won't be!"