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    MOSCOW, February 3 (RIA Novosti correspondent Olga Lipich) - The time has come to re-comprehend the role of Orthodoxy in the world history. Patriarch Alexis the Second of Moscow and All Russia spoke about it on Tuesday in opening the 8th World Russian National Council in the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Lavra. According to him, the forum is called upon "to discuss the themes of relations between Russia and the Orthodox world, and the place of the Orthodox civilization in the international process." "I am convinced that the time has come to re-comprehend the role of Orthodoxy in the world history. The challenges of the time force the countries and nations, close in culture, world outlook and religious traditions, to unite. Integration processes are storing up energy in Europe, the Moslem states are trying to consolidate their efforts in the world arena," the Patriarch said.

    In these conditions, he noted, the Council will have to answer the following questions: "Can the countries with centuries-old Orthodox traditions remain disunited; is it permissible for the separated voices of the Orthodox nations to be lost in the many-voiced chorus of world cultures; should the Orthodox nations coordinate their participation in international processes, preserving and asserting at the same time their moral and public ideals?

    "Russia does not aspire to reign and possess. The Russian Orthodox Church wishes to serve the cause of unity of the Orthodox nations," the Patriarch underscored. The evidence of the Orthodox civilization, as he put it, "can enrich the life of many other peoples." "For the sake of preserving the unity of the Orthodox world we must keep in mind the community of the spiritual ways of the fraternal Orthodox Churches," Alexis the Second believes.

    "It is gratifying that positive tendencies have taken shape in our relations with the Russian Foreign Orthodox Church. And the hope does exist that the division, caused by the tragic events of the last century's history will at last be overcome," the Patriarch noted.

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