Benedict XVI Wishes Alexy II Well

Metropolitan Kirill Visits Vatican

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 7, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI wished good health to Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia upon receiving in audience Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad.

The Pope and the president of the Department of External Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate met today in the Vatican, announced the Press Office of the Holy See.

Interfax, a Russian news agency, reported that after extending his greetings to the patriarch, the Pope discussed with Metropolitan Kirill topics concerning Orthodox-Catholic relations, as well as the need to cooperate on an international level to promote commonly-held Christian values.

On Thursday, Metropolitan Kirill marked the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria with a visit to the Orthodox parish in Rome that bears her name. He later attended a concert by the Choir of the Monastery of St. Daniel of Moscow in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs.

In his greeting to those present, reported by Vatican Radio, the Orthodox metropolitan said that "Catholics and Orthodox feel that they belong to the same family, since they share the same Christian values."

He continued: "In order to overcome the divisions the most important thing is that the East and the West leave aside considering the other as foreigners.

"They have to feel themselves part of one family and to enhance the awareness of mutually needing each other."

Metropolitan Kirill added, "What takes place in this basilica is a small brick in the building of this large building which is our unity."