Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II and clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA) are discussing ways of rapprochement of the two brotherly churches in the Fatherland in Moscow. The closed meeting is being held at the Patriarch's working residence.
"The meeting focuses on the ways to overcome the split of the Russian Orthodox Church," priest Vladimir Aleksandrov, an official of the foreign church relations department of the Moscow Patriarchy, told RIA Novosti.
According to him, "practical steps to rapprochement will be under discussion." The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad arrived in Moscow on Monday evening. It is headed by Archbishop of Berlin and Germany Mark, Bishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand Illarion and Bishop of San-Francisco and West America Cyril.
The first official visit by the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad to Russia will end on November 22-25.
"This visit meets our old hopes for a brotherly dialogue with the Church Abroad," stressed Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, the secretary of inter-Orthodox relations of the foreign church relations department of the Moscow Patriarchy.
The split of the Russian Orthodox Church happened in the 1930 for mainly political reasons. Some clergymen who immigrated abroad did not want to submit to the Moscow Patriarchy which could not take free decisions because of atheistic persecutions in Soviet Russia.
Nowadays, there are no reasons to preserve the split, the Russian side says.
The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has more than 250 parishes, monasteries, hermitages and communities.