MOSCOW, March 14 (Itar-Tass) – Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill on Thursday congratulated Pope Francisco I on his election as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
“The relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church received a new impetus and positive dynamics under your predecessor – Pope Benedict XVI,” Patriarch Kirill said.
He expressed the hope that the relations between the two churches would continue developing under the new Pontiff in the spirit of fraternal love and mutual understanding. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church noted that the new Pontiff had chosen the papal name of Francisco I in memory of famous Roman-Catholic Saints who sacrificed themselves for the afflicted and ardently preached the Gospel.
“In your choice, I can see Your desire to continue taking care of the poor and the afflicted to whom you showed mercy and love for many years of service in Argentina,” Patriarch Kirill went on to say.
He emphasized that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church had the same priority ministrations, which opened the way to cooperation and interaction.
“Today, Orthodox and Catholic Christians should join efforts to protect Christians who need help and support and who are harassed and persecuted in various corners of our planet. Joint efforts are also necessary for consolidating traditional moral values in modern secular societies,” Patriarch Kirill said.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church wished Pope Francisco I peace, spiritual and physical strength and God’s help in his forthcoming work.