Русский | DECR Communication Service| November 21, 2009
English translation by Katherine Ilachinski

Stay Concluded in China of Delegation headed by Archbishop Hilarion

November 21, 2009 concluded a visit to China of the delegation of the Russian Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations and the Department for External Church Relations, headed by a member of the Council, the metropolitan Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk.

The delegation included also executive secretary of the Russian Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations, the adviser of the Office of the President for domestic policy A.I. Kudryavtsev, deputy chairman of the DECR, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR officers D.I. Peter and I. M. Kopeikin.

During the seeing off of the delegation at the airport of Shanghai, the director of the department of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) Spokesman Liu Jinguang, who accompanied Archbishop Hilarion on the trip around the country, expressed deep satisfaction with the visit of Russia's delegation, during which an agreement in principle to the positions of both sides on key issues was consolidated on further development of Russia-China interaction in the field of religious communication and cooperation. The representative of the State Administration for Religious Affairs stated that over sixty years of the PRC and for the entire period of administration this is the first visit at the invitation of SARA of such a delegation, that included religious leaders. This unprecedented event, according to Liu Jinguang, is due to the special nature of relations between Russia and China, aimed at strategic cooperation and strengthening of friendship between the two countries, transmitted from generation to generation.

During the talks of the delegation with the SARA leadership and the relevant territorial administrations, it was noted that the aim of further contacts between the parties is the practical implementation of the relevant parts of the Action Plan to implement the provisions of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation between Russian Federation and PRC in 2009-2012 aimed at promoting dialogue and cooperation between the major religious organizations in Russia and China, and the Interreligious Council of Russia and China Association for Cultural and Religious Affairs.

The leadership of SARA expressed gratitude to the Russian Orthodox Church for its constant attention to the development of Orthodoxy in China and concern shown in this regard. Chinese side noted that Orthodoxy is "an integral part of the life of the people of Russia", and in China "are well known the wide influence and great role of Orthodoxy in Russia."

SARA leaders of PRC asked to convey greetings of good wishes to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia with whom representatives of China, met several times during the stay of His Holiness as the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. "With his usual wisdom, Patriarch Kirill makes a very big contribution to the development of contacts of Russia and China on the lines of Orthodoxy," - said during the talks, Deputy Director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs of China, Jiang Jianyong.

Such words have been heard several times during the visit of Russian delegation to Harbin and Shanghai. Representatives of the State and Territorial Administration for Religious Affairs expressed hope that as a result of joint ventures with the Russians long-term effort Orthodoxy in China will develop further, providing a positive influence on the formation of a harmonious society, as well as contributing to the sustainable, healthy and stable creation of Russia-China relations, partnership and strategic interaction.

It was stated that there is a solid foundation for further development of Sino-Russian cooperation and contacts in the field of religious relations, built on principles of mutual respect, independence of parties and non-interference in internal affairs of each other.