Cuba's first Russian Orthodox cathedral was consecrated Sunday amid church bells, liturgical chants and the presence of President Raul Castro, in a sign of goodwill toward the island's former chief benefactor.
Russian diplomats and members of Cuba's dwindling Russian community crowded into the whitewashed seaside cathedral, which is topped by a gleaming gold dome.
Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia was critical about giving 2008 Nobel
Peace Prize to former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, who worked out the plan
for "a peaceful separation of Kosovo. It was unjust to award Mr. Ahtisaari who contributed to separation of Kosovo
from Serbia with an international peace prize," Alexy II said
in his meeting with Serbian Ambassador Stanimir Vukicevic in the Moscow patriarchal residence.
Patriarchs, primates and representatives of all the Patriarchal and Autochephalous Orthodox Churches recommitted themselves to overcome intra-Orthodox conflicts as well as to continue theological dialogues with Christians from other confessions at a 10-12 October meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.
"Overcoming the internal conflicts of the Orthodox Church through the surrendering of nationalistic, ethnic and ideological extremes of the past" is a requisite for the "word of Orthodoxy [to] have a necessary impact on the contemporary world," reads a message issued at the end of the meeting.
Address of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Plenary Session of the European Parliament (full version)25. September 2008 - 7:18
Your Excellency Mr President of the European Parliament,
Your Excellencies, Honorable Members of the European Parliament,Distinguished Guests, Dear Friends,
First and foremost, we convey to you salutations from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, based for many many centuries in what is today Istanbul - greetings replete with esteem and respect. In particular, we express our gratitude to an old friend of ours, His Excellency Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament. We likewise express our sincerest appreciation for the extraordinary honor to address the Plenary of the European Parliament, especially on this occasion that commemorates the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.
The Russian Orthodox Church suspended its membership of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) on Saturday, the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations told Interfax-Religion.
"The reason for this decision was the unwillingness to consider a membership application by the Estonian Orthodox Church, a self-governing Church within the Moscow Patriarchate, which is illegitimate, groundless and going against the constitution and the CEC rules," it said.