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Russian Orthodox official discusses possible meeting between Pope, patriarch

November 12, 2009

A leading Russian Orthodox official says that relations with the Catholic Church have improved under Pope Benedict’s papacy and that a meeting between the Pontiff and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill is possible.

“Today it can be said that we are moving to a moment when it becomes possible to prepare a meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow,” said Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. “There are no specific plans for the venue or timing of such a meeting but on both sides there is a desire to prepare it.”

Archbishop Hilarion added that Pope Benedict is a “very reserved, traditional man who does not seek the expansion of the Catholic Church to traditionally Orthodox regions.”

In an interview with journalist Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican, Archbishop Hilarion spoke at some length about his hopes for an Orthodox-Catholic alliance in Europe to counteract the influence of secularism. "It is in Europe that the onslaught of militant secularism against religion takes the most aggressive forms," the Russian prelate explained. "It is Europe that most obsessively denies its Christian heritage."


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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Nov. 14, 2009 1:14 PM ET USA

    I would ask: Archbishop Hilarion, is the piety of the average Russian in 2009 a model for the world to follow? What actions have you taken as a leader of the Orthodox Church to stop the onslaught of militant secularism in Russia?