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Russian and American Orthodox churches look past politics to come closer together

Orthodox Christians from both countries gathered in Moscow in a spirit of ‘brotherhood and unity’

(Sputnik) – Contacts between representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church in America could “promote reconciliation and the establishment of good cooperation” between Russia and the United States, Patriarch Kirill said at a meeting with Tikhon of America and Canada.

“Given the complicated relations between Russia and the United States, the contacts of our churches are gaining special significance, because these contacts connect people who share a common faith, who have a common history, common spiritual values, and can, I am sure, serve as a link between our peoples, promote reconciliation and the establishment of good cooperation,” Patriarch Kirill said at a meeting in his residence.

Metropolitan Tikhon, together with the heads of other local Orthodox churches, arrived in Moscow to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the patriarchate in the Russian Church and the election of Holy Hierarch Tikhon as the Patriarch in 1917.

“I know about the profound veneration of St. Tikhon in the Orthodox Church in America and thank you for the recent visit to the St. Nicholas [Russian Orthodox] Cathedral in New York, which he had founded, with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in it,” the head of the Russian Orthodox Church added.

In turn, the head of the Orthodox Church in America expressed his gratitude to Patriarch Kirill for gathering representatives of 12 local Orthodox churches in Moscow “in the spirit of brotherhood and unity.”

The Orthodox Church in America is an autocephalous, or self-governing, local Orthodox church, which gained independence from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970. This independence is recognized by a number of local churches, but the Constantinople Patriarchate and a number of other churches still consider the OCA to be a self-governing part of the ROC.

According to 2016 data, the OCA includes 12 eparchies (episcopates), eight monasteries and about 650 parishes. The Primate of the OCA has the title of archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of all America and Canada.

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