The Russian Orthodox Church is not against a meeting between its head, Patriarch Kirill, and Pope Benedict XVI, but it expects the Vatican to "take concrete steps to show that there is a desire to be cooperative," the Russian Church's foreign relations chief said in a television program on December 5, 2009.
"Our position has remained unchanged for many years. We never excluded the possibility of such a meeting," head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department of External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion told Rossiya television.
Archbishop Hilarion added, "We expect the Vatican to take concrete steps to show that there is a desire to be cooperative and heal all the wounds that were inflicted in the extremely harrowing period of the early 1990s."
He said, "In that period, more than 500 Orthodox Churches in Ukraine were forcibly seized by Greek Catholics and the Orthodox believers were ousted from them."