MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill's upcoming visit to the United Kingdom will strengthen the dialogue between the two countries experiencing difficult times, Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said.
"I believe that the visit of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia Kirill to the United Kingdom, worship services and meetings with believers and representatives of the Church of England and the general public will help our peoples strengthen mutual trust," Hilarion told RIA Novosti in an interview.
The Russian Orthodox leader will visit the United Kingdom and the Diocese of Sourozh, the Moscow Patriarchate's branch in the country. The visit will mark the 300th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church in the British Isles and will become the first visit by a Russian patriarch to the country.
"Relations between Russia and the United Kingdom have been going through difficult times over recent years. However, history knows periods of cooperation between the two countries, for example during World War II. The past and the present encourage us to promote a closer rapprochement between Russian and British people, which, in turn, cannot but have an impact on official contacts," Hilarion said.
Garbett was the Archbishop of York between 1942 and 1955. His trip to Moscow took place at the invitation by the Moscow Patriarchate, during which he met with Patriarch Sergius of Moscow.
Relations between Russia and the United Kingdom took a hit after the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis and Crimea's rejoining with Russia in 2014 as London supported EU anti-Russia sanctions. More recently, the UK government took a hard stance on Russia's anti-terrorist campaign in Syria.