The meeting between His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia and His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch focused on the concerns and anxieties experienced by the Antiochian and Russian Churches, in regards to the Ukrainian issue; and to the suffering, destruction, and kidnappings afflicting the Church of Antioch.
At the beginning of the meeting, attended by members of both delegations, the Patriarch of Moscow welcomed the Patriarch of Antioch. He stressed how much this visit testified to the depth and solidity of the historical relations between the two Churches, and saluted Patriarch John X’s positions and his pioneering role in the Church of Antioch. Patriarch Kirill said the visit of the Patriarch of Antioch was particularly important, especially in these times when both Churches are going through similar and difficult circumstances, a situation which should enhance their mutual affinity. He then thanked Patriarch John and the Church of Antioch for their support of the Russian Church on the Ukrainian issue.
The Patriarch of Moscow then recalled the efforts made by the Russian State and Church in favor of Syria on various levels: the help of the Russian Church for the restoration of holy places, especially the St Thecla Ma’lula Patriarchal Monastery; medical help for children; not to mention the cooperation between Russia and Antioch in the field of education, which strengthens cultural interaction between students, and develops bilateral relations between the two Churches.
Patriarch Kirill expressed his satisfaction with the humanitarian work done in Syria. At Patriarch John’s request, he promised to participate in the restoration of churches in the regions of Arbin and Az-Zabadani.
As for the Patriarch of Antioch, he first expressed his joy to be in Moscow in order to participate in the tenth anniversary of Patriarch Kirill’s enthronement. He also highlighted the depth of the historical ties uniting both Churches, hoping these relationships would keep developing. He spoke about the wounds experienced by the Orthodox body, both in Ukraine and in Antioch. He added that in spite of all these wounds resulting from suffering, massacres and destruction, they remained hopeful. The situation in Syria has improved and they live in a certain atmosphere of security and stability.
“Whatever the challenges, we are convinced that our Orthodoxy is beautiful, proud and great, and we can only implore the primates of the Orthodox Churches, which we have already done before, to solve our problems through dialogue, consensus, and harmony. It is indeed impossible to solve problems at the expense of the unity of the Orthodox world, and this unity demands above all from us a message of love. We decided to speak the truth, because silence is useless nowadays. We do not despair, but instead remain hopeful. “
Finally, Patriarch John thanked Patriarch Kirill for the Russian help to Syria, listing the humanitarian, social, and educational projects, including the important role of the University of Balamand. The Church of Antioch has been trying to launch these projects despite difficult circumstances, as they believe Christians constitute the heart of the region. They must remain there and not choose exile.
Source in Arabic