MOSCOW, March 14 (RIA Novosti) – The head of the Russian Orthodox Church praised ties between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Holy See on Thursday in his letter congratulating Pope Francis on his first anniversary as pontiff.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill said bilateral ties between the Russian Orthodox and the Catholic churches have improved in the past year.
“I am pleased to note the high degree of mutual understanding and efforts by both sides to strengthen cooperation between the Russian Orthdoxy and Catholicism for the purpose of strengthening Christian moral values in the modern world,” Patriarch Kirill said.
Relations between the two churches have been strained over a few issues that have prevented the churches’ leaders from meeting. The Moscow Patriarchate has in particular accused the Vatican of trying to lead believers away from the Russian Church – an accusation the Roman Catholics have denied.