Patriarch Kirill of Moscow Meets With Holy See Representative

Discuss Peace in Syria, Cooperation in Defending the Family

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Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has received Archbishop Vicenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Yesterday’s meeting follows greetings the Patriarch sent to Pope Francis via Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met the Holy Father on Monday.

Present at the meeting with the Patriarch was Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, and Professor Adriano Roccucci, Secretary General of the Sant’Egidio community.

The representatives of the Holy See are in Russia to take part in an international conference on Bible studies.

According to a communique by the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian Patriarch applauded the Holy See’s position regarding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria.

Patriarch Kirill, the communique stated, noted the great importance of Pope Francis’ letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 4 with an appeal to the leaders of G20 countries to «lay aside the pursuit of a military solution and seek a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiations.”

The Russian Orthodox Patriarch also spoke of his 2011 visit to Syria and Lebanon at the start of the conflict, insisting on a peaceful solution that will end the suffering of all Syrians. Patriarch Kirill also said he wrote to US President Barack Obama, warning him of “catastrophic consequences” if a military strike were ever to occur against Syria.

Also discussed was the defense of the family and traditional family values, a matter very close to both Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis. Archbishop Paglia conveyed his belief that both Churches should work closely in this area. Pope Francis has convened in 2014 an Extraordinary Synod of Bishop under the theme: “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of the Evangelization.

“The Conference ‘Orthodox and Catholics Together for the Family’, which was held in Rome on November 13 by the Department for External Church Relations and the Pontifical Council for the Family, was mentioned as an example of cooperation,” the communique noted.

“Archbishop Paglia believes that cooperation should be developed, also at the United Nations, which proclaimed 2014 the Year of the Family.”

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