On November 22, 2016, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with a delegation of the Romanian Orthodox Church at the patriarchal residence in the St. Daniel Patriarchal Monastery.
The delegation, which included Metropolitan Nifon of Targoviste, Rev. Ionut Gubanu, Rev. Eugene Rogoti, participated in the celebrations held on the occasion of the 70th birthday of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Participating in the meeting from the Moscow Patriarchate were also Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR), Bishop Iriney of Orsk and Gaj; Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR vice-chairman; Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations, and A. Champion, DECR staff member.
Welcoming Metropolitan Nifon, His Holiness said, ‘I am very glad to see Your Eminence as a participant in the celebrations held on the occasion of by round good date. We have met at various forums. You are an outstanding representative of the Romanian Patriarchate who is responsible or presenting its interests on the international level. The positive experience of our relations and cooperation in advocating Orthodox interests, including in the non-Orthodox environment, puts me in a very positive inner spirit when I have an occasion to talk with you. You have often come to Russia to meet with the Moscow Patriarchate representatives. In spite of the fact that there are some differences in our bilateral relations, the Churches have maintained fraternal contacts, which is very important’.
His Holiness stressed the importance of establishing relations between the two Churches’ monasteries. ‘In Romania, there is a very rich and strong monastic tradition’, he said, ‘You know that monasteries play a very considerable role in Russia. I believe cooperation and fellowship between our monastics could be a good form for maintaining our bilateral relations at a difficult time’.
Having expressed regret that His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania was unable to come to Moscow for the celebrations, Patriarch Kirill expressed hope that the Primate of the Romanian Church would be able to visit Moscow in the near future and the Primate of the Russian Church would come to Bucharest.
Having conveyed fraternal greetings and best wishes from Patriarch Daniel, Metropolitan Nifon informed Patriarch Kirill that His Beatitude, on his part, desired that the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church could visit Romania. He said that pan-Orthodox solidarity was a priority for the Romanian Patriarchate. He is convinced that differences can be overcome so that the Local Churches could show the unity of Orthodoxy to the whole world.
‘I would like to stress the respect’, he continued, ‘that we in the Romanian Church have for you because you can present Orthodoxy to people in a very special manner. It inspires us as an example of how Orthodoxy can be presented on the international level’.
Metropolitan Nifon also pointed to the importance of monastic relations between the two Churches and welcomed the participation of monks from Romania in the celebrations devoted to the millennium of the Russian monasticism on Mount Athos. ‘We have very much in common and have broadened out relations and deepened the roots of cooperation between our Churches in the last centuries. On this basis we can develop our relations in the future’, he said.
They also discussed the pan-Orthodox cooperation.
Patriarch Kirill handed over liturgical vestments, a crozier and a copy of his 8-volume Collected Works as a gift to Patriarch Daniel. He presented Metropolitan Nifon with a crozier and his books and Fathers Gubanu and Rogoti with commemorative crosses.