Interfax News Agency: May 12, 2004

Interview with His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus

On the eve of his first official visit to Russia, scheduled to begin on May 14, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Laurus, granted an exclusive interview to Interfax:

Interfax: What are you expecting from your forthcoming trip to Russia?

Metropolitan Laurus: The aim of my visit is to meet with the President of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, and with members of the Holy Synod, and to personally acquaint myself with the state of affairs in the church life of Russia. If God grants, I will be accompanied by clergymen of our Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who nourish Russian Orthodox people scattered throughout the world. Besides official meetings, we intend to make a pilgrimage to the place of martyrdom of the Royal Family in Ekaterinburg, and also other holy sites in the fatherland.

Interfax: How do you see the paths of rapprochement between the two parts of the Russian Church?

Metropolitan Laurus: These meetings are intended to determine the future joint work of the two committees, whose assignment is to work out possible solutions to the problems that have accumulated, and the opinions of the committees in turn will form the foundation of future practical steps. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia strives to achieve mutual recognition of the parts of the one Russian Orthodox Church rent into two by tragic events and to overcome all differences in the spirit of repentance, conciliarity and brotherly love. Judging from everything, both parts of the Russian Church are prepared for honest and constructive dialog. Still, the work of the two committees, in my opinion, will not be easy and the healing of all wounds brought upon the Body of the Russian Church may prove to be a lengthy process. But if it happens in a churchly spirit, then, in the words of the holy prophet King David, "Mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other."

Interfax: In your opinion, who is hindering this rapprochement, and why?

Metropolitan Laurus: I can only speak for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. We have now reared the fourth generation of clergymen, but there are still people who remember the persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church in the USSR, who personally experienced and witnessed the persecution of the Faith and the Church, for whom it is difficult to recognize the essence of the changes occuring in Russia. But we do not prevent our flock to express their opinions on these events. Yet we hope that in time they will become convinced in these fundamental changes and will remember that repentance can heal all old wounds.