MOSCOW/WARSAW, August 16 (RIA Novosti)
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The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, will on Thursday arrive in Poland on an official four-day visit, the Moscow Patriarchate reported.
The patriarch will take part in a number of divine services, meet with Polish Orthodox Christian clergy and the country’s top officials, as well as sign a joint Catholic-Orthodox reconciliation appeal to the Russian and Polish nations, urging them to overcome historical differences and forgive each other.
This is the first official visit by a Russian Orthodox Church leader to Poland, where most nationals are Roman Catholics.
Earlier Moscow Patriarchate spokesman Archpriest Nikolai Balashov told RIA Novosti that the visit means that the Russian Church would like to develop and strengthen relations with the Roman Catholic Church in Europe to defend common Christian values.
Patriarch Kirill was invited by the head of the Polish Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland.
Meanwhile, the president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Jozef Michalik, who will sign the joint appeal on behalf of the Polish Catholic Church, said he believes many residents of his country would dislike the reconciliation appeal.
However, he said, bilateral relations should be improved despite discontent of some nationals.
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