Moscow Patriarch’s visit to US on horizon,

A visit to the U.S. by the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I is on the horizon, metropolitan Ilarion, the chief of Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external Church relations told TASS on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, currently held in Washington at the initiative of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

“I think this is possible in the coming years,” His Beatitude Ilarion said answering a question on when the Patriarch’s visit to the US might be expected.

“His Holiness [Kirill I] has already visited all the local [national] Orthodox Churches and the only Church that he hasn’t been to so far is the [autocephalous] Orthodox Church in America,” he said. “I really think the Patriarch’s visit to the U.S. is somewhere on the horizon.”

“We’re not discussing any specific dates yet,” Metropolitan Ilarion said, adding however that he might raise the issue during conversations with the ruling bishop of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Metropolitan Tikhon.

The two hierarchs will have a meeting in Washington and, on top of that, will have a joint service in the St. Nicholas’s metropolitan cathedral, OCA’s main see.

Metropolitan Tikhon, too, is taking part in the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians. He told TASS his Church would be glad to receive the Patriarch of Moscow.

The visit would naturally be highly welcome but its organization would require thorough preparations, he said and added, “I’m sure we’ll be discussing it in the future.”.