Friday, September 16, 2016

Pope Francis Receives Priceless Gift From Patriarch of Moscow

On 15 September 2016,His Holiness Pope Francis met at the Vatican with His Eminence Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk,Chairman of the External Church Relations Department of the Russian Orthodox Church.Before their meeting,Metropolitan Ilarion presented Pope Francis with a special gift from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.It is a relic of St.Seraphim of Sarov,the spiritual luminary of nineteenth century Russia.The relic is encased in a golden,egg-shaped reliquary,which the Pope promptly genuflected to and kissed.He asked Metropolitan Ilarion,who is in Rome as Head of the Russian Delegation to The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church,to convey to Patriarch Kirill his gratitude and brotherly love.*
During their meeting,the two hierarchs discussed the state of relations between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches following the historic first meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Havana,Cuba last February.They also reviewed the suffering of Christians in the Middle East,stressing the need for more joint actions to alleviate it.His Eminence told the pontiff about the initiatives the Moscow Patriarchate has taken to provide aid to Syria and praised the Pope for his own peace efforts in the region.On the cultural front,the Pope and the Metropolitan noted that the Church of Rome and the Moscow Patriarchate have exchange study tours for Russian Orthodox and Catholic theology students underway.

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