After a joint meeting during Cardinal Pietro
Parolin's visit to Russia this week,
both he and Russian Orthodox
Patriarch Kirill said the trip marks "a new
stage" in relations between their Churches.
This stage, they said, is thanks not only to
Pope Francis' meeting with Patriarch Kirill in
Havana in February 2016,
is also due to the loaning of the relics of St.
Nicholas to Russia over the summer, drawing
millions of Orthodox faithful for veneration.
According to an Aug. 23 statement from the
Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, at the
beginning of the meeting Patriarch Kirill
said the meeting between he and Cardinal Parolin
was possible due to "the development of
relations between the Russian Federation and the
"But it is with still greater satisfaction that
I see the development of relations between our
Churches," he said, noting
his meeting with Pope Francis provided
new impetus for cooperation between the Russian
Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.
"This fact testifies that a new stage has indeed
begun in our relations with events of great
importance, which have been possible because in
Havana we agreed our positions on many current
issues," he said, adding
"this communion of positions allows us
to build plans and give them real content."
Cardinal Parolin echoed the sentiment, offering
Pope Francis' greeting
to "my brother Kirill," and affirming the
patriarch's observation that the Havana
encounter "has laid the foundation for a new
stage in the relationship between our Churches,
giving new impetus to these relations,"
according to Vatican Radio.
Calling the visit of the relics an "exceptional
event for the story of our Churches,"
Cardinal Parolin said
event is an example of "the ecumenism of
sanctity, it's true, it exists." The saints
unite us because they are close to God and so it
is they who help us to overcome the difficulties
of past relations due to previous situations,
and to always walk more rapidly toward fraternal
embrace and Eucharistic communion,"