On October 12, 2010, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with the participants of the 4th International Festival of Orthodox Media “Faith and Word” at the Hall of Church Councils at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill addressed the journalists, who represented Orthodox publications of various regions in Russia and in the “near and far abroad,” with a Patriarchal sermon, after which he answered their questions.
Among them was a female correspondent from Vestnik RPTsZ [Herald of ROCOR] who noted some problems observed in the process of reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and asked His Holiness to discuss any measures that may be proposed “on the path of further unification of the two parts of one Church.”
“The most important thing that happened is that the Church has united, that we pray together, partake of Communion together,” stressed His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. “When you talk about this to a lay audience, people aren’t satisfied with that answer—they want to see the immediate resolution of administration, managerial and organizational questions. But in the Church, nevertheless, it is appropriate to lay hopes in the will of God.”
According to His Holiness, any over-stimulation of the process of integration would only evoke the opposite reaction from people who are accustomed to an independent existence “for many decades.”
Real progress in the matter of the reunification of the Russian Church in the Fatherland and abroad is expressed not in the artificial integration of parishes and dioceses, but in prayerful unity, noted the Primate, reminding the audience that hundreds of thousands of people endured a “colossally powerful spiritual experience” during the visit of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God to Russia—the main holy icon of the Russian Diaspora. “I think that the event held enormous importance for overcoming several rudimentary divisions which were still in existence, because today we all feel part of one Church,” said His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.
His Holiness Vladyka also noted that at the present time, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, is a member of the Holy Synod, and also participates in the Inter-Council Presence and inter-Orthodox contacts, together with His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain.
“We discuss matters connected with providing multi-level support to parishes of the Russian Church Abroad, and this is occurring so naturally that it is difficult to say what exactly happened in our consciousness in such a short period of time. We no longer divide anything, paying attention to the needs of any parish of the Russian Church Abroad to the same degree as care for parishes traditionally belonging to our jurisdiction,” continued His Holiness Vladyka.
“I think that this will continue to progress, and the Lord will lead us to the point where certain canonical anomalies (for instance, parallel dioceses), will with time be resolved insofar as this is practically demanded by people,” opined the Primate of the Russian Church.
“No reformations or revolutions on the path of the further strengthening of unity are expected,” concluded His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.