The Church and the Russian Orthodox have been growing closer together in friendship and in the desire to promote common values, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope said this in a letter he sent to Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia. The letter was delivered by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, during his 10-day visit to Russia, which ends today.
The trip was undertaken at the invitation of Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the president of the Department of External Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate, reported the pontifical council.
Pomorie will greet more than 700 choristers from nine countries for the fifth Orthodox Music Festival, to be held from June 7 to 11. Among the new participants this year is the chamber choir of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Berlin. Russian and Greek church officials are expected to be present at the festival.
Officially named for the Holy Virgin Mother (Света Богородица - Достойно есть), the festival drew applications for participation from more than 3000 candidates; out of these were chosen 31 groups from Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.
Russian Ambassador A.V.Konuzin in Gracanica: “Together with the Serbs, We are Defending International Law“4. June 2008 - 9:33
"In Kosovo and Metochia the Russian Federation is defending not only its Serbian friends - together with the Serbs, we are defending International Law and as long as the Serbs are defending their interests, Russia will be on their side'', said Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Vasilyevich Konuzin. He visited Gracanica today and on the occasion met with representatives of the Kosovo Serbs, to whom he expressed that Russia was having an absolutely clear and firm position on Kosovo, and that the solution to the Kosovo problem should be searched for exclusively within the decisions of the Security Council of the United Nations. "We believe that this is an unalienable part of Serbia. The solution to the problem of Kosovo should be searched for within the decisions of the Security Council of the United Nations, and these are within Resolution 1244. Any other steps represent a violation of International Law as well as a violation of the Charter of the United Nations'', Konuyin pointed out. Besides meeting representatives of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia, the Russian Ambassador also had meetings with UNMIK leading officials and the commander of KFOR.
Source: KIM Radio
"The last Serbs are being driven out from Kosovo. I know what the situation is like there.There are no refugees coming back to Kosovo. And you can't guarantee them security and a civilized existence on that territory'', Vladimir Putin said in an interview to " Le Monde'', in occasion of his first visit to France as Prime Minister.
Mr. Putin reacted to a question related to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which the journalist called "separatis regions", by saying: "You said separatist? Why didn't you use this word about Kosovo?" "You cannot answer, and this is because you do not have an answer," Putin continued.
When the journalist remarked that "in Abkhazia, it was
the Georgians who had been ethnically cleansed, while in Kosovo, the situation
was quite the opposite since it was the Albanians that were exposed to this
practice", Putin answered that the two things were "not at all
opposite" and that "thousands of Serbs can't return to Kosovo. Hundreds of
thousands. It's exactly the same. Where did you see refugees coming back to
Kosovo? Nothing similar is happening" he continued. "Don't tell me
stories, I know what is really going on there."
From: Lj. Milinčić
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.