Pope hopes for broader dialogue with Russian Church under new Patriarch

Vatican, January 28, Interfax – Pope Benedict XVI has sent his greetings to Patriarch Kirill, the newly elected head of the Russian Orthodox Church, expressing the hope for a broader dialogue between the two Churches.

“I assure Your Holiness of my spiritual closeness and of the Catholic Church’s commitment to cooperate with the Russian Orthodox Church for an ever clearer witness to the truth of the Christian message and to the values which alone can sustain today’s world along the way of peace, justice and loving care of the marginalized,” the Pope says in a telegram, made available by Interfax-Religion on Wednesday.

“I have received with gladness the news of your election as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. I warmly congratulate you and wish you every strength and joy in the fulfillment of the great task which lies before you as you guide the Church, over which you now preside, along the path of spiritual growth and unity,” Pope Benedict XVI writes.

“In prayer, I ask the Lord to grant you an abundance of wisdom to discern his will, to persevere in loving service of the people, entrusted to your patriarchal ministry, and to sustain them in fidelity to the Gospel and the great traditions of Russian Orthodoxy,” the Pontiff said.

“May the Almighty also bless your efforts to maintain communion among the Orthodox churches and to seek that fullness of communion which is the goal of Catholic-Orthodox collaboration and dialogue,” Pope Benedict said.