31 August 2018 Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill arrived in Istanbul, reports patriarhiei.
At the airport “Ataturk” of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church was met by Metropolitan Secemski Gennady (Patriarchate of Constantinople) and Consul General of Russia in Istanbul A. L. Podyachev.
His Holiness visited the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George in the Phanar. Then in the Throne hall of the Patriarchate of Constantinople began meeting his Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill.
The meeting was attended by the Chairman of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Deputy Chairman of the DECR Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, as well as members of the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Welcoming his Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, Primate of the Russian Church said:
“Your Holiness, I am happy to meet with You and with the members of the Synod. Whenever I visit this place, stand in memory of the very important moments of our common history. In every age, our Church is faced with different challenges, which primarily occurred from the outside world, but we by the grace of God always found a common language, a common understanding of what must be done in order to preserve the unity of the Church and to meet the challenges of the time.
I think there is a difference between dialogue policy and dialogue we. The dialogue policy defends the interests of his country, and dialogue within the Orthodox Church is different in nature. We, of course, represent the interests of their Churches, but we always have in mind our common welfare, unity of the Holy Church, its ability to perform mission in the modern world. The dialogue between the local churches is going on inside a single body — the Body of the one, Holy Apostolic Church, which imposes on us the responsibility and obligation, but at the same time gives strength and inspiration.
That’s why, despite the fact that in this building there were different discussion, sometimes quite difficult, I have with this place linked very fond memories, because we never did anything that would hurt the Ecumenical Orthodoxy, the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, because we are responsible for the whole Church, the whole Body of Christ. We are the primates of the local Churches.
I would like to thank You personally for the atmosphere that You create here. Keep warm memories of all our meetings since 1977. I hope the next generation of bishops will look for example, including, and in the history of our relations. We really passed through great difficulties, but always achieved the desired goals. Of course, this was because, in addition to our weak forces in this dialogue, in this great work, was attended by the grace of God. Believe that now the Lord will be with us.
I would like to once again warmly welcome You, Your Holiness, beloved archpastors and members of the Synod.”
In response, the Primate of the Church of Constantinople said:
“We are pleased to participate today in the Ecumenical Patriarchate, his Beatitude and most Holy Patriarch Moscow and all Russia Kirill and his associates. Whenever we meet, it is a joy for both of us, as we have the opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest.
We believe in the power of dialogue. If political leaders use dialogue to solve problems in their countries, especially we, the religious leaders should use dialogue to resolve issues, especially since the dialogue is the path that we are set by God.
We are pleased that today’s visit of his Holiness Patriarch Kirill coincides with the meeting of the Holy Synod, so here in full are the members of the Holy Synod. As you know, our Holy Synod meets monthly and the meeting lasts for three days. And from tomorrow until Monday evening will be held the Council of bishops of our Church, which will be attended by all the active metropolitans of our Patriarchate.
The last time we were going to be the Council of bishops three years ago. The work was very successful, fruitful, and then we decided that we would gather for such a meeting once in three years. Tomorrow we will take the following at the beginning of a new Church year, with the participation of the Patriarch and all bishops. September 1 begins our Church year, this date was established by my late predecessor Demetrius, and on this day we offer special prayers for the environment. As you know, in the framework of the environmental initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate held a very important conference — the last such Symposium was held in June of this year in the Attica region. A similar conference we plan to hold in June next year here in Constantinople.”