2018-02-14 13:12:00

Patriarch Kirill meets with Abbas, favors preserving Jerusalem's special status

Moscow, February 14, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia believes the special status of Jerusalem should be preserved.

"I am convinced that the key to pacification in the land of Biblical history lies in the settlement of relations between Palestine and Israel. We are deeply convinced that solid peace should be achieved by negotiating with regard for the lawful interests of the parties, bearing in mind that the special status of Jerusalem should be preserved," he said during a meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow on Wednesday.

The patriarch said he believes there should be solid guarantees of good conditions for religious life.

The patriarch said the Holy Land is visited by more than half a million pilgrims annually and that many of them go to Palestine, and that attaining a just peace is therefore very important to the church.

Abbas, for his part, said he hopes for an increase in the number of Russian pilgrims.

"We do know that the number of Russia pilgrims visiting holy places is now around 500,000. We hope for an increase of their number as our friendly relations develop," he said.

"I would also like to speak about the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in establishing pilgrimage to holy places and the coordination that the Russian Orthodox Church provides between Russian pilgrims and the people of Palestine," he said.

Patriarch Kirill and the Palestinian leader meet regularly. Their last meeting took place in 2017.

The Russian Church appreciates Palestine's care in preserving Christian holy places and has a positive view of the state of inter-religious relations in the Palestinian territories, a representative of the patriarchate said.