New Patriarch, Pope will meet once differences are resolved – Metropolitan Kirill

Moscow, January 26, Interfax – The position of the Russian Orthodox Church as to the possibility of meeting with the Pope remains unchanged, the Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Kirill said.

“It is not a matter of the Patriarch’s or the Pope’s personality, there is the matter of certain realities that exist in the relations between our Churches. This is why at the moment I repeat what the late Patriarch had been saying in recent years when asked such questions,” he said in an interview published in the Trud daily on Monday.

The Patriarch and the Pope cannot meet “unless we see some real progress in the issues that have long been problematic in our relations,” he said.

Asked about the key tasks of the next Patriarch, Metropolitan Kirill pointed primarily to the need of getting people involved in the life of Church.

“Under Patriarch Alexy II there was an impressive growth in the number of parishes, monasteries and schools. Millions of people were baptized and consider themselves Orthodox. However, the extent of their church involvement leaves much to be desired,” the hierarch said.

Currently, “there is a need to revive the church in the broadest sense of this word – through spiritual enlightenment, missionary activity, catechism, social service, and the Church’s public activity,” Metropolitan Kirill said.