Alexy II Congratulates a Catholic Charity

Aid to the Church in Need Is Marking 60th Anniversary

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MOSCOW, FEB. 22, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II congratulated Aid to the Church in Need and its president, Hans Peter Röthlin, on its 60th anniversary.



The Germany-based international Catholic charity reported the letter from the patriarch of Moscow and All Russia today.

The "selfless help for the Church in difficult material situations has gained the charity high respect and recognition in the whole Christian world," the Orthodox patriarch wrote. "I myself remember with joy the personal encounters, in 1992 and 1994, with the founder of the international charity, Father Werenfried van Straaten."

Aid to the Church in Need, which has national offices in 17 countries, is under the authority of the Holy See.

In his letter, Alexy II expresses his gratitude for the "inestimable help" with which Father van Straaten assisted the Russian Orthodox Church "to find a normal life after so many years of persecution under an atheist regime."

The Orthodox leader adds that "mutual support" is the foundation on which partnership and dialogue between the Churches should take place.

Also in a congratulatory letter, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad recounts "the initiatives of Father Werenfried, which have become good examples of Orthodox-Catholic cooperation," including the "reopening of theological schools and the development of places of education and mission."