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[London/Rome] A few days from the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI in Scotland and England, the "Number two" in the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Direcoter of the "Foreign Office" of the Moscow Patriarchate, will make his visit to Great Britain.

On the 9th of September he will meet [has already met] in Lambeth Palace with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the Primate of the Anglican Communion. In a certain way "he makes straight the way of the Pope", as the Pope's meeting on the 17th of September is described by Vaticanist Sandro Magister in the Weekly L'Espresso.

http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2010...tween.html
Here is the somewhat official news about the visit

http://www.sourozh.org/
Spiriting news. I don't know if this has been posted here before, but it provides some important context, so:

Sandro Magister Wrote:A Holy Alliance between Rome and Moscow Is Born
The common objective: the "new evangelization" of Europe. A delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church visits the Vatican, which publishes an anthology of the patriarch's writings. A meeting between Kirill and Benedict XVI keeps getting closer

ROME, May 24, 2010 – Benedict XVI will soon create a new "pontifical council" expressly dedicated to the "new evangelization." Not for mission countries where the congregation "de propaganda fide" is already at work. But for the countries of ancient Christian tradition that are today in danger of losing the faith.

Pope Joseph Ratzinger wants to link his pontificate to this initiative. And this was the main topic that he discussed one morning in the spring of 2009, at Castel Gandolfo, with four prominent cardinals he had called for consultation: Camillo Ruini, Angelo Bagnasco, Christoph Schönborn, and Angelo Scola, the last being the most resolute in promoting the institution of the new office.

Meanwhile, one great ally has already united with the pope from outside of the Catholic Church, in this enterprise of a new evangelization.

This great ally is the Russian Orthodox Church.

On the afternoon of Thursday, May 20, immediately before the concert given for Benedict XVI by the patriarchate of Moscow began in the audience hall, the president of the department of external relations for the patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (in the photo), said exactly this to the pope: that the Catholic Church will not be alone in the new evangelization of dechristianized Europe, because it will have at its side the Russian Orthodox Church, "no longer a competitor, but an ally."

The positive relationship that has been established between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of Rome is one of the most stunning achievements of Benedict XVI's pontificate. [...]


To the question about a meeting – the first in history – between the heads of the two Churches of Rome and Moscow, Hilarion replied that "this is a desire, a hope, and we must work to make it happen." He added that a few obstacles will have to be smoothed over first, above all the disagreements between the two Churches in Ukraine, but he said that he is confident that the meeting will take place soon: "not between just any patriarch and pope, but between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict."

One proof of how much closer the positions of the heads of the two Churches have become is given by two books published just a few months apart, and without precedent in history.

The first was published last December by the patriarchate of Moscow, and presents in Russian and Italian the main writings by Ratzinger on Europe, before and after his election as pope, with an extensive introduction written by Metropolitan Hilarion.

The second, released a few days ago, is published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana and collects writings by Kirill before and after his nomination as patriarch, on the dignity of man and the rights of the person, with an introduction by Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the pontifical council for culture. [...]

Both the publications were promoted by an international association based in Rome: "Sofia: Idea Russa, Idea d'Europa." The association has produced an Italian-Russian academy, "Sapientia et Scientia," inaugurated last May 20 in the context of the "Days of Russian culture and spirituality" held in Rome by a delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow guided by Metropolitan Hilarion.

The Days had two culminating moments. The first on May 19, on the premises of the new Russian Orthodox church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, built a few years ago  in Rome, a short distance from the Vatican. There Metropolitan Hilarion, Archbishop Ravasi, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the pontifical council for Christian unity, discussed the issue "Orthodox and Catholics in Europe today. The Christian roots and common cultural patrimony of East and West."

The second important moment was the concert given for the pope on May 20 by Patriarch Kirill I. [...]

In his message, Patriarch Kirill recalled that in Russia, "during the years of persecution, when the majority of the population had no access to sacred music, these [musical] works, together with the masterpieces of Russian literature and the figurative arts, contributed to bringing the proclamation of the Gospel, proposing to the secular world ideals of the highest moral and spiritual caliber."

And Benedict XVI, in his final speech, remarked on how in the musical compositions performed, "there is already realized the encounter, the dialogue, the synergy between East and West, as also between tradition and modernity." A dialogue that is all the more urgent in order to let Europe breathe again with "two lungs" and restore to it the awareness of its Christian roots.

Read the rest here.