ASIA/SYRIA - Orthodox Patriarch Yohanna flies to Moscow and thanks Russia for supporting the reconstruction of Syrian sanctuaries

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 middle east   oriental churches   sanctuaries   jihadists   orthodoxy   geopolitics

Moscow (Agenzia Fides) - The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Yohanna X, thanked Russia once again for its contribution to the fight against armed groups, and the Patriarchate of Moscow for the support offered to the reconstruction and the rebirth of Syrian sanctuaries and monasteries, like that of Santa Tekla, in the city of Maalula. The words of thanks were expressed by Yohanna X on January 29 in Moscow, where the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch went to participate in the ceremonies for the tenth anniversary of the election of Russian Patriarch Kirill.
During a meeting with Kirill himself, Patriarch Yohanna emphasized that the fraternity between the Russian Orthodox Church and that of Antioch manifests itself at a time when both Churches are facing different emergencies. In this regard, the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch mentioned the intra-Orthodox controversies in particular between the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, arising from the granting of autocephaly (full independence) to a national Orthodox Church in Ukraine (which the Patriarchate of Moscow considers as its "canonical territory").
Yohanna X once again recalled the need and urgency to resolve problems and disputes through dialogue, continuing to favor the principle of consensus and rejecting unilateral initiatives undertaken at the expense of unity.
Less than two weeks ago, as reported by Agenzia Fides (see Fides, 19/1/2019), the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch had received a delegation of Russian parliamentarians visiting Damascus in the Middle East. Also on that occasion, Patriarch Yohanna expressed gratitude for the role played by Russia in the scenario of the Syrian conflict. The Russian delegation included Dmitry Sablin, coordinator of the friendship group of the parliaments of Russia and Syria, Sergey Gavrilov (president of the parliamentary committee for the development of civil society) and Dmitry Belik, deputy of the Duma of Sevastopol.
On November 17, as reported by Fides (see Fides, 19/11/2018), a qualified delegation of the Patriarchate of Moscow took part in the meeting convened in Damascus by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, which also saw the participation of Syrian politicians and a large representation of representatives of the local Sunni Islamic communities.
The meeting offered the opportunity to discuss topics of common interest related to the situation in Syria and to Russian-Syrian relations.
Hosted by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Yohanna X, the meeting was attended, among others, by Syrian minister of religious endowments Mohammed Abdul Sattar, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II, Cardinal Mario Zenari , Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, together with envoys of the Russian government and a good number of Russian Christian and Muslim representatives. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 30/1/2019)