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Russian Church leader vows to work for Russia-Ukraine unity

On August 5, 2009, Interfax reported that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has promised to "pray and work to prevent anti-Russian sentiments from ever taking the upper hand in Ukraine" and that he would "specially pray and work to prevent anti-Ukrainian sentiments from taking the upper hand in Russia," reports RISU.

Patriarch Kirill, who was speaking to reporters at a Moscow airport after returning from Ukraine, also promised to make efforts to ensure that Ukraine "always is a country that is close and friendly to Russia and is bound to it by family-like ties."

The patriarch said he had had "no secret agenda" when he was leaving for Ukraine last month.

"I didn't have a single goal that I wouldn't have been able to state openly. I spoke honestly and in a straightforward way to politicians and to the people through live [television]," he said.

One of the most powerful impressions his trip to Ukraine had given him was "kinship with people at the level of the heart," Patriarch Kirill said.

"And, against this background of the identical nature of basic values in the life of the people, whether they are the Ukrainian or the Russian people, all those political conflicts look so petty that I think this whole conflict situation can in no way match the power that the Russian Orthodox Church represents today in Russia, Ukraine, and other countries that we call Holy Rus," he said.

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Christian Telegraph