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JORDANVILLE, NY: June 8, 2006

His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus Satisfied with the Decisions of the IV All-Diaspora Council and the Council of Bishops

His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus sees Divine mercy in the results of the recent IV All-Diaspora Council and the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. "I am satisfied" with the adopted resolutions, he said in an interview with a correspondent from ITAR-TASS news service held on Monday at his residence at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY.

At the same time, His Eminence Vladyka said that he cannot yet exactly foretell where, when and how the desired reconciliation will take place. "We have not yet discussed this matter at all," said His Eminence, referring to himself and the other bishops of the Russian Church Abroad.

His Eminence explained that the work of the ecclesiastical Commissions will resume "in the near future." They are charged with completing the draft "Act on Canonical Communion," to resolve outstanding questions and to draw up the protocol for the future signing of the document. Vladyka suggests that a special rite must be developed for this.

His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus did not provide any further details on the problems requiring further discussion. He only mentioned that "the same questions" are being repeated on the topic of ecumenism. The position that inter-confessional dialog provides the means to defend Orthodox positions appears unpersuasive to him if only for the fact that none of the leading partners in this dialog have converted to Orthodoxy in recent decades. And aid appears to be arbitrary: the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is bewildered by the fact that the World Council of Churches has done nothing to help the persecuted Orthodox Christians in former Yugoslavia, first of all in Kosovo.

The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is also somewhat circumspect about the active contacts between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Vatican, according to His Eminence. Vladyka Laurus feels, for example, that if the Pope of Rome were to visit Russia, it could affect the process of reconciliation between the two branches of the Russian Orthodox Church, "and delay it to some degree." However, as far as he knows, there are no concrete plans for the Pope to visit Russia as yet.

His Eminence confirmed that the leadership of the Russian Church Abroad would deem it very desirable to convene an All-Russian Church Council at the conclusion of the process of reconciliation with the Moscow Patriarchate. "Our people, our archpastors live in this hope. Very much so," said His Eminence.

The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has its own parishes on the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate at the present time. His Eminence admitted that he would like for the Russian Church Abroad to retain them. However, His Eminence Vladyka stressed that the Synod of Bishops is prepared to resolve any questions which might arise in this regard.

The significance of overcoming of the tragic divisions in the Russian Church which arose during the Soviet era would reach beyond the Church itself. It would actually become a symbol of renewed spiritual health of society as a whole. Vladyka Laurus confirmed that the Russian Church Abroad is prepared, to the best of its abilities, to cooperate in improving world opinion of contemporary Russia.

ITAR-TASS