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Exiled Russian Church in Moscow to heal decades-old rift

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The head of the exiled Russian Orthodox Church arrived in Russia's capital Tuesday for a visit aiming to rebuild bridges with hierarchs in Moscow after more than 80 years of separation.
MOSCOW, May 15 (RIA Novosti) - The head of the exiled Russian Orthodox Church arrived in Russia's capital Tuesday for a visit aiming to rebuild bridges with hierarchs in Moscow after more than 80 years of separation.

Metropolitan Laurus, the church's New York-based leader, will later in the day meet Patriarch Alexy II to discuss the Russian Orthodox Church's reunification with its overseas branch, established by emigres who fled the country following the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.

On Thursday, the two prelates will sign a document on reestablishing canonical ties, which is widely seen as a milestone on the way toward overcoming the decades-long rift with the exiled branch, which broke away in 1921, after accusing fellow clergymen in Soviet Russia of collaboration with the country's Communist regime.

The signing ceremony, timed to coincide with Ascension Day, will take place in Moscow's central Christ the Savior Cathedral.

A delegation of about several dozen senior clergymen is accompanying Laurus on his historic Moscow visit. Hundreds of pilgrims from the United States and Western Europe have converged on the Russian capital to witness the event.

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