“The Russian Church remains a consistent advocate of good relations between Germany and Russia. This position is not defined by momentary conditions, it is related to the way we understand our history and the significance of good relations and cooperation between our people,” the patriarch said at a meeting with German Ambassador to Russia Rudiger von Fritsch.
He said he is convinced that this relationship matters “not only for our two nations, but for the whole of Europe and even the whole world.” In his view, “we need to talk to another on those platforms where we can talk.”
He expressed regret over discontinuation of St. Petersburg Dialogue, a Russian-German forum.
“There was a section there, focused on the role of Churches, and we thought the debate within this section has always been useful,” Patriarch Kirill said.
The Russian Church has been in dialogue with German Churches for 60 years, and this communication was very important “for overcoming the psychological effects of the Second World War and the difficult relations that arose between our countries.”
According to the patriarch, today there are more than a hundred Russian Church parishes in Germany which has around 4 million of natives from Russia.
“These people feel comfortable in Germany, which raises a sense of gratitude because many of them found themselves in a difficult situation when they arrived in Germany, it was difficult first and foremost economically,” he said.
For his part, von Fritsch said that Germany and Russia share common Christian roots “and it is Christians in our countries who play a huge role when it comes to promoting peace.”
“You have very rightly pointed to the important role of the Church in reconciliation after the war started by Germany, during which Germans caused terrible suffering to the Soviet people,” he said.
Germany is set to continue working within St. Petersburg Dialogue’s Church Section, the ambassador said. A German-Russian church conference will be held in Germany this fall, he said.