“We are really hoping that this call [by the patriarch and pope] to all people of good will, a call to responsible politicians on whose decisions a lot of things not only in the Middle East, but also worldwide depend now, was heard,” Vladimir Legoyda, the head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations, said at a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday.
Legoyda said Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis, by the fact and content of their meeting, gave responsible politicians “an example of how one can be higher than the problems and differences in their relations to achieve an important goal associated with people’s situation in the modern world.”
“Judging by some events taking place in the world of international relations, we can say that this hope was not in vain, and we believe that we will see positive results in the changes of relations between countries and in the solution of the difficult situations that exist,” Legoyda said.
At the same time, he could not give a definitive answer to the question as to whether there is a connection between this historical meeting and the ceasefire in Syria.
The church official also said that the actions by the Greek-Catholics in Ukraine now remain “a difficult issue” in the relations between the Russian and Catholic Churches, which, in particular, was expressed in the negative reaction by the Ukrainian Greek-Catholics to the meeting between the pope and the patriarch.
Priest Alexander Volkov, the head of the patriarch’s press service, for his part, pointed out that contemporary history does not know documents “in terms of the depth and diversity” that are similar to the declaration signed by the pope and the patriarch.
“In some sense, we are living in a new era, when the signing of this document became possible,” the priest said.