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Russian hierarch says global events prompting need for meeting btw Moscow Patriarch, Pope

November 30, 2013, 2:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW
“The current trend in developments across the world prompts us to think more and more practically about a meeting of this kind,” said Metropolitan Illarion
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MOSCOW, November 30, 2:02 /ITAR-TASS/. Position of Christians in the war-torn Syria and in other countries of the Middle East, as well as defense of traditional Christian family-oriented values in Europe might become the main issues at a hypothetical meeting between the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I and Pope Francis I, were this meeting to take place, a high-rank Russian cleric told a news conference in Warsaw Friday.

“The current trend in developments across the world prompts us to think more and more practically about a meeting of this kind,” said Metropolitan Illarion, the chairman of Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations.

“I’d like to mention at least two issues that might become the main ones in the course of that meeting,” he said. “Number one is the situation, in which the Christians have found themselves in the Middle East and some other regions of the world where they are subjected to something bigger than just repressions - to purges and genocide.”

“Given this extraordinary situation, our Churches should pool their efforts for the purpose of helping our persecuted brothers and sisters,” Metropolitan Illarion said.

He added that Pope Francis I is well-informed on the situation in the Middle East and in particular in Lebanon and Syria and the supreme hierarchs of both Churches have more than once issued appeals to the international community and leaders of different countries urging them to put an end to the armed conflict in Syria.

“The second issue is joint defense of traditional Christian family values,” Metropolitan Illarion said. “The need for discussing it is imminent on the background of a dismantling of family ethics, which is taking place in Western nations.”

He indicated that neither the Russian Church nor the Roman Catholic Church rules out a possibility of a meeting between Kirill I and Francis I but it should be prepared properly, regarding not only the protocol side of it but also the contents.

“We can’t speak at this moment either about its venue or timing because our two Churches have not discussed these things yet,” Metropolitan Illarion said.

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