Syrian Hierarchs Meet with Patriarch Kirill in Moscow
The official Website of the Department for External Relations, Russian Orthodox Church reported:
On 8 October 2013, the commemoration day of St. Sergius of Radonezh, after the Divine Liturgy and a thanksgiving celebrated in the Laura of the Holy Trinity and St. Sergius, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill met with the delegation of the Syrian hierarchs who attended the service.
The delegation includes Bishop Isaac of Apameia, vicar of the Damascus diocese (Patriarchate of Antioch); Archbishop Joseph Absi (Melkite Greek Catholic Church); Bishop Armash Nalbandian (Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicosate of Etchmiadzin); Archbishop Mor Silwanos Butros (Peter) al-Ni'meh (Syriac Orthodox Church); and Archbishop Samir Nassar (Maronite Church).
Taking part in the meeting were also Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations; Archbishop Niphon of Philippopolis, representative of the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR vice-chairman; and hieromonk Stefan Igumnov, a staff member of the DECR Secretariat for Inter-Orthodox Relations.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill addressed the participants in the meeting, saying in particular, "I know that Syria, your homeland, is suffering greatly. The country is being brought to destruction in the full view of the watching world. It was difficult to imagine this some time ago. It was a peaceful and tranquil country where economy was developing successfully and where people of different religions lived: Orthodox, Catholics and Muslims. I visited Syria after a ten year interval and did not recognize the country – everything had changed so much for the better. And then, by someone's evil will, a catastrophe occured: they started killing people, blowing up houses and exterminating Christians under the colour of democracy. We know that those committing such villainous acts get weapons and money from abroad, from people who strive to destroy Syria."
"You certainly know the position of the Russian Orthodox Church," Patriarch Kirill continued, "We have taken it when the first shots were fired in the country. When the war began, I went to Syria and Lebanon to support the suffering people. Back then, we had a hope that the conflict could be stopped, but it has escalated."
His Holiness recounted the efforts made by the Russian Orthodox Church to stop bloodshed in the Syrian land. In her peacemaking endeavours, the Russian Church has been cooperating with the Russian leadership. "We are very glad that it is from Russia that we hear proposals which can stop bloodshed," His Holiness said.