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    TOP CLERGY OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OUTSIDE RUSSIA TO VISIT RUSSIA

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    NEW YORK, May 13 (RIA Novosti's Andrei Loshchilin) - A delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) led by its top official, Metropolitan Laurus will go on a visit to Moscow Thursday. The delegation will meet with Patriarch Alexy II and members of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchy.

    Metropolitan Laurus and the accompanying clergy will also visit the St Trinity Monastery (71 km north of Moscow, founded in the 14th century), St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and the holy Orthodox places in the Kursk and Nizhni Novgorod regions that are associated with the name of St Seraphim of Sarov, whose 250th anniversary is marked this year.

    During the meetings in Moscow, the sides will discuss the work of the commissions created by the two parts of the Russian Church have to solve problems that hinder the development of mutual relations. Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain, who is accompanying Metropolitan Laurus on the trip, said a joint session of the two commissions is to be held soon after the visit. "The results of their work - which will hardly be quick - will be discussed at the sides' hierarchical sessions and subsequently, God willing, at the first general assembly of the Russian Church," said Archbishop Mark.

    The invitation to make an official visit to Russia was delivered from Patriarch Alexy II to Metropolitan Laurus in New York in September 2003. In December 2003, the hierarchical session of the ROCOR decided to launch the "pre-assembly process" with the Moscow Patriarchy in the hope of normalising relations.

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