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Friday, August 17, 2012

Russian Orthodox and Polish Catholic Church Heads Aim to Reconcile

The heads of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Polish Catholic Church have signed a joint memorandum aimed at reconciling relations between two countries. 


Polish Roman Catholic church Archbishop Jozef Michalik, right, shakes hands with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill  Photo: AFP/Getty Images

By Matthew Day, Warsaw

In the ornate setting of Warsaw's royal castle Patriarch Kirill, head of Russia's Orthodox Church, and Archbishop Jozef Michalik called for forgiveness and understanding.

"We call upon our faithful to pray for the forgiveness of injustices and all the wrongs committed against one another," said the text. "The events of our common, often difficult and tragic history sometimes raise grievances and accusations that do not allow old wounds to heal." The memorandum has already been likened to a historic 1965 letter on forgiveness from Polish bishops to their German counterparts that paved the way for a new era of relations between Poland and Germany after the horrors of the Second World War.

Poland's close friendship with Germany now stands in marked contrast with Warsaw's relations with Moscow, which are still dogged by mistrust and a widespread feeling in Poland that Russia has done too little to atone for historical wrongs inflicted on the Poles.

Russia's apparent inability to come completely clean and show true regret over the 1940 massacre of thousands of Poles at the hands of Stalin's secret police in the Katyn forests, and the imposition of communist rule after the war still rankles Poland, and colours relations between the two countries.

In response Moscow has long complained that a Polish obsession with history gets in the way of good relations, and interferes with Russia's relations with the West as a whole. 

1 comment:

kkollwitz said...

"Moscow has long complained that a Polish obsession with history gets in the way of good relations"

The world has long complained that a Russian obsession with history gets in the way of good relations.