Metropolitan Hilarion, president of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, met on May 19, 2018, with Archbishop Wojciech Polak, Primate of Poland and president of the Group for Relations with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. The meeting took place in the seat of the Polish Episcopate and concerned the continuation of the dialogue launched in 2012 with the announcement of the Common Message to the Nations of Poland and Russia.
The meeting was organized during the visit in Poland of Metropolitan Hilarion, who came to celebrate the first liturgy in the church of Saint Sophia in Warsaw, and to congratulate on to Metropolitan Sawa on the occasion of his 80th birthday and the 20th anniversary of his ministry at the office of the Orthodox Metropolitan of Warsaw and all of Poland.
During the conversation at the seat of the Episcopate, both sides expressed their will to continue the dialogue between the Catholic Church in Poland and the Russian Orthodox Church, based on the content of the Common Message to the Nations of Poland and Russia, signed in Warsaw on August 17, 2012 by Patriarch Kirill and Archbishop Józef Michalik, then president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. The importance of the Catholic-Orthodox conference which took place on November 27-30, 2013 in Warsaw, was also mentioned. “The role of Christianity from Poland and Russia in Europe”, with the participation of a delegation of 17 members of the Moscow Patriarchate with Metropolitan Hilarion at the head and the highest authorities of the Polish Episcopate.
The May 19 meeting was also attended by Polish members of the Group for Contacts with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Polish Bishops’ Conference: Fr. Jarosław Mrówczyński, deputy secretary general of the Polish Episcopate and Marcin Przeciszewski, editor-in-chief of Polish Catholic Information Agency (KAI), as well as Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman of the Episcopate. Metropolitan Hilarion was accompanied by Igor Jakimczuk and Alexander Ershov from the Moscow Patriarchate and Fr. Mirosław Demczuk from the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
Immediately after the meeting in the seat of the Episcopate, Metropolitan Hilarion went to the service at the newly built Orthodox temple of St. Sophia in Warsaw to celebrate the first liturgy and to bless a cross of the dome.
It is worth noting that this is the first visit of Metropolitan Hilarion – person number 2 in the Russian Orthodox Church after Patriarch Kirill – in Poland after 5 years, when first, in August 2012, he accompanied the patriarch in his historic journey to the country, and then at the end of November 2013, when he participated in a conference on relations between the Churches and the peoples of Poland and Russia.