SYNOD OF BISHOPS; November 16, 2004

Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany arrives in Moscow with the members of the Committee of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on discussions with the Moscow Patriarchate

The members of the Committee on discussions with the Moscow Patriarchate, headed by His Eminence Archbishop Mark, arrived in Moscow for joint meetings. On Monday, November 15, a separate meeting of the Committee was held, and on Tuesday, before the opening of the First International Festival of the Orthodox Media, Archbishop Mark met with His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia, who is in Moscow on an official visit, and discussed with him the progress of the discussions with the Moscow Patriarchate.

"We hope for movement towards unity from our joint meetings," said Vladyka Mark on Tuesday in an interview with RIA "Novosti" in Moscow on the first International Festival of the Orthodox Media. At the same time, he said, some very serious questions remained for joint deliberation. "Even those questions we have discussed have not yet been fully resolved," noted Archbishop Mark. "It is likely that the forthcoming joint session of the Committees will not be the last. This is a living process which requires development."

Archbishop Mark also commented on the decision of the Synod of Bishops to leave the matter of making peace with the Moscow Patriarchate to the Council of Bishops, which will be convened within two years. "Our situation is more complicated, since there are forces that are hindering rapprochement. That is why an All-Diaspora Council, with the participation of the clergy and laity. We hope to hold it in such a way that people understand the essence of what is occurring, because many false rumors are being disseminated," said Archbishop Mark.

The results of the third joint meeting will be considered at the next session of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in January.