Churches Seek Accord in Eastern Europe

Orthodox, Catholics Discuss Reconciliation Strategies

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WARSAW, Poland, MARCH 3, 2010 ( Representatives from the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church in Poland met last week to discuss steps toward reconciliation between the two countries.

A communiqué from the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations reported that their visit to Warsaw on Thursday and Friday aimed to «discuss the Churches’ possible assistance in building good-neighborly relations between the peoples of Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.»

It was organized at the invitation of Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemysl, president of the Polish bishops’ conference, and Metropolitan Savva of Warsaw and All Poland, who is the head of the Orthodox Church in Poland.

Participants discussed steps for strengthening relations between Eastern European countries.

They decided to establish a working committee to develop a joint document on reconciliation between these nations, highlighting the contribution of the Churches in this effort.

Participants proposed setting up a bilateral commission, and discussed themes for future dialogue. They suggested also including members of the Orthodox Church in Poland as well as the Catholic Church in Russia to participate in this commission.

A communiqué at the end of the meeting stated that «both sides noted an historical importance of the initiative and the conversations, which are the first and very important step on the way to the rapprochement of our local Churches and reconciliation between our nations.»

«The two Churches,” the statement affirmed, “hope for the help of God’s Providence and intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God.”

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