Vatican's Ecumenism Leader Meets With Russian Patriarch

Note Points of Catholic-Orthodox Unity

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MOSCOW, Russia, MARCH 17, 2011 (Zenit.org).- On his first official trip to Russia, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity met Wednesday with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

A note from the Moscow Patriarchate described Cardinal Kurt Koch's meeting at the patriarch's working residence as focused on "major areas of cooperation" between the two Churches.

The two noted the issues under discussion by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue.

The statement added that despite theological difference, "both Churches can already now come into close cooperation in areas where their positions coincide, namely, defense of traditional Christian values in Europe, advocacy of the Christian position in the socio-economic sphere and in the ethics of scientific research and bioethics."

On this basis, it is "possible to develop cooperation in international organizations, such as the U.N., OSCE, and the E.U. structures," the note continued.

It added that the patriarch and cardinal also spoke of the problem of Christianophobia, "which has affected not only the regions where Christians are subjects to open persecution but also the European countries with their age-old Christian tradition."

"Cardinal Koch expressed satisfaction at the fact that Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill have a shared position on this problem and underscored that these shared views help to further inter-Church cooperation," the statement added. "Patriarch Kirill said he respected the position taken by Pope Benedict who defends the Christian tradition in spite of sometime sharp criticism from liberal circles."

Cardinal Koch has also visited the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Postgraduate and Doctoral School, as well as the Laura of the Holy Trinity and St. Sergius and the Moscow Theological Academy.