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Communiqué after the Meeting of First Hierarchs and Representatives of Seven of the Fourteen Universally-Recognised Local Orthodox Churches in the Moscow Kremlin

On 21 November 2011 a meeting of the First Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Churches of Georgia, Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, together with Representatives of three other Local Churches, took place at the Patriarch’s Palace in the Moscow Kremlin. His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and all the Russias chaired the meeting.

Patriarch Kyrill warmly welcomed the First Hierarchs and Representatives of the Local Churches to the Patriarch’s Palace of the Kremlin, the consecration of which had taken place earlier in the day. His Holiness emphasised that this day was special in the annals of the Patriarch’s Residence in that in the past, the Residence of the Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias had been in the Kremlin (the historical Patriarchal Palace is now a museum, but, in addition, from time to time, there are Church activities), explaining: ‘As our present residence is not very convenient for work involving important State affairs, we decided that we needed a permanent residence for the Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias in the Kremlin. These premises were consecrated this morning’.

After this the following participants attended a meeting in the Patriarchal Chambers:

From the Russian Orthodox Church:

  • His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and all the Russias (First Hierarch)
  • Metropolitan Hilarion, Chairman of the External Relations Department of the Russian Orthodox Church.

From the Church of Georgia:

  • His Beatitude and Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilya of all Georgia (First Hierarch)
  • Metropolitan Gerasimos, Chairman of the External Relations Department of the Georgian Orthodox Church

From the Church of Poland:

  • His Beatitude Metropolitan Sava (First Hierarch)
  • Archbishop Avel

From the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia:

  • Metropolitan Krystof (First Hierarch)
  • Archbishop Juraj

From the Patriarchate of Antioch

  • Archbishop Nifon

From the Church of Romania:

  • Archbishop Nifon
  • Deacon Eugene Rogoti (translator)

From the Church of Bulgaria:

  • Metropolitan Dometian
  • Bishop Sioni

During the meeting, the Representatives discussed strengthening missionary work and the social service of the Church, working together constructively with all positive elements in society. Representatives from Eastern Europe shared their experiences of the oppression of atheist political regimes of the past. Each is now experiencing new challenges - secularism, propaganda in favour of permissiveness and the cult of consumption and the erosion of moral standards.

The participants expressed their solidarity with the Churches of the Middle East and North Africa (Constantinople, Alexandria, Cyprus, Jerusalem and Antioch) extending their profound sympathy to Christians in the Middle East, who are now undergoing harassment, and, in some cases, outright persecution for their faith, and with Serbian Orthodox in the province of Kosovo.

They also discussed matters of common Orthodox interest, particularly regarding the preparations for the summoning of a Council of all Orthodox. They decided that the Council must take into account the positions of each Local Church. It must, as ever, also follow the principle of consensus at every stage, both in its preparation and at the Council itself. The participants stressed that the Acts of the Council must accord with the dogmatic and canonical Tradition and must not introduce any novelties which might menace the unity of Holy Church.

At the end of the meeting, the participants signed a communiqué.

21 November 2011


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