Russian Patriarch Alexis II to visit Ukraine this year

25.09.2002, 16:41
MOSCOW. 23 Sept 2002 (Interfax) - Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia intends to visit Ukraine by the end of this year. Alexis made this announcement after meeting with Chairman of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada [parliament] Volodymyr Lytvyn.

The dates of the visit will be agreed upon between the protocol services, Alexis said. Sources in the Moscow Patriarchy told Interfax that the visit could possibly take place in November. Alexis and Lytvyn met at the Christ the Savior Cathedral as part of the program of the Ukrainian speaker's visit to Moscow. The patriarch informed Lytvyn about the current inter-religious situation in Ukraine. While taking questions from the press, the speaker confirmed his support for the Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. "It is difficult for me to talk about relations [between the Church and the state], as we are Orthodox and we live in this environment. It is as if you ask a man how he feels without air," he said. Talking about the importance of cooperation between the state and the Church, Lytvyn noted that "today, when political formations are changing, the deficit of spirituality is particularly tangible" and "we feel it everywhere." "All economic problems can be resolved, but if we lose our roots, it will be hard for us to call ourselves a civilized state," the speaker said.