PERUGIA, Italy, OCT. 8, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Moscow Patriarchate, which has rejected the Catholic Church’s efforts to evangelize in Russian lands, promotes an Orthodox presence and ecumenical dialogue in Western Europe.
This is the conclusion derived from the visit to the Archdiocese of Perugia, near Assisi, of Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad. He is responsible for the Moscow Patriarchate’s foreign relations. The metropolitan received an honorary doctorate in political science from the University of Perugia.
Along with other bishops of the Umbria region, Archbishop Giuseppe Chiaretti, a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, received the metropolitan last Wednesday.
The Russian visitor also attended an international congress on “Holiness and Charity in Eastern and Western Christianity,” organized by the Diocese of Terni along with the Moscow Patriarchate, the Community of Sant’Egidio and the University of Perugia.
Archbishop Chiaretti mentioned that his archdiocese has put a church at the disposal of Romanian Orthodox immigrants in Perugia, at the request of Metropolitan Daniel of Iasi. The archbishop also plans to put another church at the disposal of Greek Orthodox immigrants.
In recent months, Catholic communities in Russia have been the object of protests, organized by some Orthodox sectors, calling for their expulsion. Authorities have expelled a Catholic bishop and five priests.
But in his address, Metropolitan Kirill spoke positively about ecumenical dialogue.
“It is possible today to reunite the pieces of the broken vessel, although they are in different places,” he said. “This means to make the effort and take the trouble together to understand this for the good of Christians.”