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.
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.
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the leaders of the world's Orthodox churches on Friday, October 10, 2008, for the official opening of the Synaxis of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches and Pauline Symposium. The three-day meeting is being held at the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint George in Istanbul, Turkey. The church leaders will later travel to sites visited by Saint Paul in Turkey and Greece later this week.