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Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Kirill's Election Hailed as New Phase"

Further anent Christian unity (see the posting below) is this welcome news, courtesy of Zenit:
Kirill's Election Hailed as New Phase

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 28, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI sent a telegram to the new patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia to congratulate him on his recent election as head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Pope expressed his "spiritual closeness" to Patriarch-elect Kirill and offered his "warm" congratulations in the message, published today by the Holy See. The elections were held Tuesday.

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"I wish you every strength and joy in the fulfillment of the great task which lies before you as you guide the Church over which you now preside along the path of spiritual growth and unity," said the Pontiff.

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Also in a communiqué published today, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity welcomed the election, describing the patriarch as a man "with whom we have maintained fraternal relations for many years."

"We trust we will be able to continue together down the path of mutual understanding we have already begun," the communiqué added. "We do not, of course, wish to lose sight of the difficulties that still remain, but we are ready and willing to cooperate in the social and cultural fields in order to bear witness to Christian values while, nonetheless, not forgetting that the ultimate aim of dialogue is the realization of the testament of Jesus Christ our Lord: the full communion of all his disciples (emphasis added).
Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict are close friends, I am told, so cautious optimism may be in order concerning the reunion of the Russian Church with Rome. We live in interesting times.

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