The head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill is visiting Bucharest for the first time since the end of communism in the country.
The three-day visit is not considered official, rather a private one, at the invitation of Patriarch Daniel, the head of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The visit is to celebrate a decade since Patriarch Daniel was elected as the head of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Upon arrival at Bucharest airport, Patriarch Kirill said he was happy to step on Romanian soil and he was eager to pray alongside the Romanian people. Kirill brought a gift for the Romanian Orthodox Church: a silver box containing the relics of St. Serafim de Sarov, Russia’s most beloved religious figure.
“The orthodox values are the same for Romanians, for Romania, for the Russians, for Russia and for all the other orthodox believers,” Kirill said.
There can be good relationships between people only when they share common values. And regardless of the path the history goes, we, the orthodox believers living in different countries, have to remember that we share the same values and a common life system. That means there is an extraordinary potential for peace, cooperation and interaction,” Kirill added.
Romania — a member of NATO and the EU — hosts a segment of the anti-missile shield in Europe, so the relations with Russia have not been very close in recent years.
Patriarch Kirill’s visit is not regarded as political, so the messages he sent in Bucharest are limited to a type of confessional diplomacy.
More eighty percent of Romanians are Orthodox. The collapse of communism there in 1989 paved the way for increased religious freedoms.
Church leaders from the Albania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia celebrated a decade with Daniel as the head of the Romanian Church.