Russian Orthodox Patriarch may meet Pope in 2011


The time is ripe for a meeting between Pope Benedict and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and may be possible in 2011, a high ranking Russian Orthodox official says.

Metropolitan Filaret made the comments following a meeting with Budapest Cardinal Peter Erdo, reports.

The cardinal and metropolitan embraced in a show of unity as they joined in a debate on the topic “Can An Educated Man, a European of Our Days, Actually Believe in the Divinity of the Son of God, Jesus Christ?”

Cardinal Erdo is the archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and the president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE). Filaret is the metropolitan of Minsk and Sluzk and Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus.

Recently, an apostolic nunciature was opened in Moscow, and there is ever greater insistence on a meeting between Benedict XVI and Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

To this end, Metropolitan Filaret said that “the time is ripe for a meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch. It might even be possible in 2011; in principle I see no obstacles,”

“We have been in dialogue with the Catholic Church for some time, at times with moments of exhilaration, at others with a fall in tensions,” he added. “Now we are in a moment of stability, but between us, we, the parties, are open to dialogue. I hope this atmosphere will continue.”

Cardinal Erdo pointed to Catholic-Orthodox union in dogmatic issues. “Hence, for me,” he said, “the circumstance that we are not in full and complete communion is a physical pain.”