Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II met Cardinal Walter Kasper in Moscow

Head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper, presented a message by Pope of Rome Benedict XVI to Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II on Thursday. He told the Patriarch he was glad to meet him and to hand over the Pontiff's message. The cardinal also voiced hope that the meeting would promote further contacts between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church. "The Orthodox-Catholic dialogue is necessary," Alexy II said. The two Churches have similar positions on many modern problems, among them morals, social and family relations, human rights and bio-ethics.

The Archbishop met Mr. Papandreou

His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Hieronymus II met the president of PASOK, Mr. G. Papandreou, at his Parliament office. Their meeting lasted for more than an hour. After their meeting His Beatitude, referred to the collaboration he had with Mr. Papandreou as a Metropolite when Mr. Papandreou was the Minister of Education. He underlined that their collaboration was very fruitful. He also stated that he has recorded and continues to record the problems from the Church's point of view and added that the society and the Church will collaborate as far as culture and social welfare are concerned, since both the Church and society fight for man's wellbeing. He also stated that he was very satisfied with the conversation he had with Mr. Papandreou.

The EU should give more attention to the problem of destruction of Orthodox sanctuaries in Kosovo and Metochia

The European Union should address the destruction of Orthodox sanctuaries in Kosovo with much more attention, the new Russian minister of Culture Alexander Avdeyev believes. "I saw destroyed churches, museums, and desecrated sanctuaries in Kosovo, and, of cause, I find it impossible to stay indifferent, whether it concerns the Moslem or the Orthodox religion. Most of the sanctuaries destroyed in Kosovo are Orthodox. UNESCO sounds the alarm, but more often than not receives no adequate reaction from the EU," said the minister, as quoted by the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily on Thursday.

The Moscow Patriarchate believes missionary activities should be transparent

The Russian Orthodox Church is concerned that some missionaries don't observe the law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations as they conceal their confession, Interfax-Religion reports. "The Russian law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations clearly reads: "Name of the religious organization should contain information on its confession. Religious organization should indicate its full title when carrying out its activities," Vice-chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin writes in his Scraps essays published by the Pravoslavnaya Moskva paper.

Greek Orthodox archbishop to visit Moscow

According to a press release from the Greek Orthodox Church in the US, Archbishop Demetrios of America will travel to Russia on May 21, leading a delegation from the Archdiocese on an official visit to the Patriarchate of Moscow. This first official visit of an Archbishop of America to the Church of Russia comes after the invitation of Patriarch Alexy II, conveyed both in person by His Grace Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, the Administrator of the Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in the United States, and in writing by His Eminence Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the Head of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Accompanying the Archbishop on the seven day visit will be two Members of the Holy Eparchial Synod, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston and Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, as well as the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Bishop Savas of Troas, Mr. Michael Jaharis, the Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council, representatives of major Church organizations, and accompanying staff.