Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II responded to a letter from Benedict XVI, expressing satisfaction with growing collaboration between the two Churches.
Alexy II's note responded to the Pope's message of Oct. 1, sent to Russia with Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, who visited Moscow at the patriarch's invitation.
The Russian religious leader expressed his "joy at the growing perspective of the development of good relations and a positive cooperation between our two Churches."
"The solid base of this," he added, "is in our common roots and our converging positions regarding many of the questions that today afflict the world."
Alexy II said he is convinced that "the greatest revelation of the Gospel, 'God is love,' should become a vital guideline for all those who consider themselves followers of Christ."
"Only through testimony to this mystery can we overcome the discord and alienation of this century, proclaiming the eternal values of Christianity to the modern world," he stated.
The patriarch concluded, expressing his heartfelt good wishes for the Holy Father's "good health and the help of God in your ministry."
From Dec. 20 to 23, Alexy II will visit Vienna, Austria, at the invitation of the archbishop of that city, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.
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