<ROME>, AUGUST 22, 2017 (Zenit.org).- “Politics must not interfere in the life of the Church” : there is convergence on this point between the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Holy See, said in Russian the Patriarch of Moscow, after the meeting between Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, President of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate , on Monday, August 21, 2017 at Moscow in Russia. The issue of conflicts in Syria and Ukraine was also addressed, reported the same source.
In the course of the conversations “the key questions of bilateral relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Roman Catholic Church were addressed in the context of the present international situation,” states a press release.
In regard to the situation in Syria, “the parties agreed that, first of all, it’s necessary to put an end to terrorism on the Syrian territory, and only after the realization of peace in the country can its political future be determined.”
Metropolitan Hilarion and Cardinal Parolin “noted the usefulness of the new consultations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Holy See on the Middle East and the necessity to pursue humanitarian cooperation in this area.”
Metropolitan Hilarion stressed that “the tragic situation of Christians in the Middle East” is “is one of the most urgent problems.” “The Moscow Patriarchate is making all possible efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the suffering population of Syria,” he said.
The President of the Department for Foreign Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate highlighted “the important role of the working group created to this effect, bringing together representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church and other Christian Confessions, as well as representatives of Muslim communities.”
The armed conflict in Ukraine was also discussed during the meeting. Metropolitan Hilarion “shared his concern” regarding the discussion at Ukraine’s Supreme Council of a draft law “aimed at discrimination of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and he expressed his gratitude to the Holy See for its support of the position of the Moscow Patriarchate on this question.”
He “also noted with regret the individual cases of politiziced statements and aggressive action by representatives of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Ukraine.”
“The parties expressed their common conviction that politics must not interfere in the life of the Church, and that the Churches in Ukraine are called to play a role in keeping the peace and contributing to the realization of civil accord in the country,” points out a press release.
During the meeting, the two parties “stressed especially the importance for relations between Orthodox and Catholics of the historic meeting of the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russias and of Pope Francis at Havana in February 2016 and of the exhibition of relics of Saint Nicholas at Moscow and at St. Petersburg from May to July of this year.
By way of conclusion, the interlocutors discussed “the prospects of bilateral cooperation in the cultural and educational realms.”
The Apostolic Nuncio in Russia, Monsignor Celestino Migliore; the Nunciature’s Counselor, official of the Section for Relations with States of the State Secretariat, Monsignor Visvaldas Kulbokas, and the First Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Russia, Monsignor Erwin Lengyel accompanied Cardinal Parolin.
The Vatican Secretary of State began his trip on Monday, August 21, in the course of which he will meet with Patriarch Kirilll and President Vladimir Putin. His visit will end on the 24th. It was 18 years since a Secretary of State of the Holy See had gone to Russia. Given the importance of these meetings, the Vatican published the different stages last week.