The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) have started the historical process of reconciliation, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's External Church Relations Department, said at a New York press conference on Wednesday. The hierarch is in the U.S. to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the St. Nicholas Cathedral.
The ROCOR First Hierarch, Metropolitan Laurus, has accepted an invitation from Alexis II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, to visit Russia in early 2004.
Metropolitan Kirill said a ROCOR hierarchs' delegation headed by Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand and Bishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America would discuss Laurus' visit and the reconciliation of the two Churches.
Members of the delegation will report on their impressions from the trip at a ROCOR pastors' conference and a session of the ROCOR Bishop Synod.
Clergymen, who found themselves outside of the country after the 1918-1921 civil war, founded the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. For decades, the ROCOR refused to get in touch with the ROC after Metropolitan Sergius, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said he was loyal to the Soviet power.
Created in 2001, First Hierarch of the ROCOR, Metropolitan Laurus is an advocate of rapprochement and reunification of the two sister churches.