His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, met with Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority on February 14, 2018. During the meeting, His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill, delivered a speech, in which he stated that the special status of Jerusalem should be preserved.
“I am convinced that the key to peace in the land of Biblical history lies in the settlement of relations between Palestine and Israel. We are deeply convinced that solid peace should be achieved by negotiations with regard for the lawful interests of the parties, bearing in mind that the special status of Jerusalem should be preserved,” he mentioned.
According to the Patriarch, appropriate conditions for religious life should be firmly guaranteed as well.
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church pointed out that more than half a million pilgrims visit the Holy Land every year and that many of them go to Palestine. Therefore it is crucially important to the Church to establish permanent and fair peace there.
In turn, Mahmoud Abbas expressed hope for an increase in the number of Russian pilgrims.
“We know that the number of Russian pilgrims visiting holy places is now around 500,000. We hope that this number will increase as our friendly relations develop,” Mahmoud Abbas said.
“Also I would like to emphasize the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in establishing pilgrimage to holy places and the coordination that the Russian Orthodox Church provides between Russian pilgrims and the people of Palestine,” he added.
Patriarch Kirill and the Palestinian leader meet regularly. Their last meeting took place in 2017.
The Russian Orthodox Church appreciates Palestine’s care in preserving Christian holy places and has a positive view on the state of inter-religious relations in the Palestinian territories, a representative of the Patriarchate said.