Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan promised democratic reforms on Saturday in a rare meeting with Turkey's religious minority leaders highlighting the issue of minority rights, a key stumbling block in its EU membership bid.
Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and leaders of the small Armenian, Jewish, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic communities had lunch with Erdogan and senior ministers on Buyukada island near Istanbul, a patriarchate official told Reuters on condition his name not be used.
The United Russia political party plans to involve the Moscow Patriarchate in legislative work. "We agreed we would show the Patriarchate the State Duma's plan for legislative work and hold preliminary consultations on all questions that may raise doubts to avoid mutual misunderstanding," Deputy Secretary of the Party's General Council Presidium and Head of the State Duma Labor and Social Policy Committee Andrey Isayev told Interfax-Religion.
Russian Orthodox Church predicts decline of the Western prosperity and the fall of capitalism before long8. July 2009 - 12:01
Western Civilization will soon witness its decline, unless it begins to recover its lost Christian heritage, believes the Moscow Patriarchate.
"The society living only for the sake of mundane interests of individuals is bound for failure, and capitalism will fall in a few coming decades in just the same way as communism and Nazism fell in their due course," head of the Synodal Church and Society Department Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin is quoted as saying on the website of Orthodox society Radonezh.
There has not been any substantial moment in the Orthodox-Catholic dialog, said Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk.
"It appears to me that the relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches still lack the specifics which could be interpreted as the opening of a new page. We are still expecting the Catholic Church to give some articulate and adequate response the concerns we have voiced on many occasions," Archbishop Hilarion told a press conference at the Interfax head office on Tuesday.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia visited St.Sophia, the former principal church of the whole Christian world, now a museum, on Saturday during his stay in Istanbul.
According to Interfax-Religion correspondent, Patriarch Kirill accompanied by representatives of Turkish authorities, museum management, and the clergy of the Moscow and Constantinople Patriarchates saw the courtyard and the inside chapels of St. Sophia, the surviving Byzantine frescoes and listened to a short tour about the cathedral's history, the traditions of divine services in the Byzantine Empire and enthronement of its emperors.