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MOSCOW, February 25. /TASS/. The Russian Orthodox Church expects a single global anti-terrorism coalition to be formed after a meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's External Church Relations Department Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) has told TASS.
"We expect concrete action. We hope that the appeal for peace will be heeded and that, instead of creating several anti-terror coalitions with deep contradictions between them fraught with unpredictable consequences, a single coalition will be forged," the metropolitan said. "We hope that political leaders will be able to overcome their internal differences and unite in the fight against terrorism as a common threat for the entire humanity." In his opinion, "This coalition cannot consist only of politicians, it must comprise both spiritual leaders and other people of good will."
According to Metropolitan Hilarion, "this meeting will have far-reaching consequences," and "the message of the pope and the patriarch is addressed to all sorts of people, including political leaders - those on whom the future of mankind depends." "Therefore, I hope that they will heed the warning made in this declaration that is directly linked to the current complex political situation," the metropolitan said. He noted though that the purpose of the meeting was not the rapprochement between the two churches "on theological issues" and "overcoming differences in the teaching of the Church."
"The differences which we have continue to exist, but both sides have an understanding that the situation in the world requires urgent concerted action, as stated in the declaration, coordinated action," the bishop said. He noted that the meeting was held with a view to "coordinating actions." "A lot of what the pope and the patriarch said together was previously expressed separately by them, but it was very important for their voices to sound like a single voice of the primates of the two largest Christian churches. And that’s precisely what happened," the metropolitan said.
Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill met at Havana’s international airport on February 12 to sign a joint declaration and call upon the world community to present a joint front for protecting Christians in the Middle East and other regions. It was the first-ever meeting between the primates of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches after the schism of 1054 when the formerly united Christian Church broke in two.