June 13, 2017
In a speech to Latin American ambassadors to Russia, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow emphasized the ties that bind Russian Orthodox Christians to Christians in Latin America.
“I have always felt, especially at that time, that Russia and Latin America have many things in common,” he said. “First, the very strong living Christian faith; it is really a faith of millions. Christianity in our country and in Latin America is an important factor of not only people’s spiritual but also intellectual life.”
Just as in our country, in Latin America I have seen overcrowded churches, examples of remarkable Christian mission, also amidst the poor. I noted the great interest in Russia wherever we met with very warm and emotional manifestations of sympathy towards us.
The nations of Western Europe and North America, on the other hand,
used to be leaders of the Christian world, but they are ceasing to be such. Unlike them, in Latin America churches are not sold to accommodate some secular institutions in them, nor are churches closed but, on the contrary, are being built in a great number in Russia. We have the religious life on the rise, and it is what Russia and Latin American countries have in common.
As Latin America and Russia play a special role in the preservation and
development of modern Christianity, a decision was made that the first
ever meeting between the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Pope
of Rome should take place in the Latin American land’ His Holiness
continued, ‘The problems, which emerged in relations between the
Churches of East and West, the Orthodox and the Catholics, were to a
great extend linked with the historical European context. But they had
nothing to do with Russia or Latin America at that time. We as it were
inherited the consequences of that division. Certainly, there are
difference between the Orthodox and the Catholics today, including
theological ones. We are aware of the importance of this issue and
support in all possible ways the theological dialogue held between our