|Pope Benedict XVI and Russian Patriarch Kirill|
Last December, the Western press once again wrote about the possibility of a personal meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Kirill, but the Russian Orthodox Church and secular analysts refused to make forecasts. The reconciliation of the two churches seemed unlikely then, but the situation has changed and a historical meeting may take place soon.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has a positive view of the pontific, as evidenced by his recent interview with the Ukrainian media. Journalists asked the patriarch about dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.
"We are optimistic about the position of Pope Benedict XVI," Patriarch Kirill told Ukrainian journalists. "Liberal theologians and the Western media may criticize him, but his stance coincides with the opinions of the Orthodox Church on many social and moral issues."
The staff of the Patriarchy is searching for venues of practical cooperation with western Christians. Just over a week ago, Hegumen Philipp (Ryabykh), deputy chairman of the Moscow Patriarchy's Department for External Church Relations, met with Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, to discuss the possibility of joint efforts to promote Christian values in Europe, including with the Jesuit experience in religious education.
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