Meeting Between Pope Benedict and Russian OrthodoxPatriarch Kirill I is 'Possible'...
A senior Russian Orthodox cleric said Wednesday that a meeting between the head of his church and Pope Benedict XVI "is now possible," despite unresolved differences with the Vatican.
"Dialogue between the two churches has moved forward. The times and the people have changed" Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk said while speaking in Rome at a Vatican event aimed at promoting Russian culture and spirituality. Hilarion is in charge of the Russian Orthodox Church's external affairs. He did not specify when or where the two leaders could meet. Hilarion was appointed to his current position by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarch Kirill I, who was enthroned last year following the death of his predecessor Alexy II in December 2008. Bishop Hilarion AlfeyevUnder Kirill, the Russian Orthodox Church began a bitter dispute with the Vatican over what it said were attempts by the Catholic Church to seek converts in Russian territory. The tussle prevented both the late John Paul II and the current pope, Benedict, from visiting Russia, as the Vatican has said such a trip would only take place in accordance with the wishes of the Russian Orthodox Church.Theological differences between the two churches can be traced to the Great Schism of 1054, when the Eastern and Western Churches split, primarily over the issue of papal authority.
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