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The Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia Solve their Differences

According to reports from Interfax and Sedmitza.Ru in Moscow of 31 January 2007, the definitive decision to sign the 'Act of Canonical Communion' between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) has been taken. The signing will take place in the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow on 17 May 2007.

'The problems which remained unsolved and had to be settled have been agreed on and resolved. We hope that the solemn signing of the 'Act of Canonical Communion' and a joint Divine Liturgy, led by the heads of both parts of the Russian Church' will take place on 17 May, said Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk on Tuesday 30.

He noted that the outstanding questions had concerned certain members of the clergy in both parts of the Church, together with issues concerning parishes under ROCOR in Russia and the Ukraine. Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, the secretary of the Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate for dialogue with ROCOR, stated that once the Act had been signed, full Church unity will have been attained and all the ROCOR hierarchs will take part in decisions concerning general Church affairs, 'becoming participants in all Councils of Bishops of the One Russian Church'.

Thus, the division in the Russian Church which came about as a result of the Revolution and the Civil War will have been overcome. The Moscow Patriarchate will recognize ROCOR as an 'inseparable, self-governing part of the Local Russian Orthodox Church', independent in pastoral, educational, administrative, financial, civil and property matters', but which 'is in canonical unity with the whole pleroma of the Russian Orthodox Church'. ROCOR will, as before, be governed by its own Synod of Bishops, forming its 'supreme spiritual, legislative, administrative, legal and controlling power', choosing its First Hierarch on the basis of its own regulations.

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