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.