European Commission Hoping for Input from Russian Orthodox

BRUSSELS, Belgium, JUNE 2, 2002.- The European Commission believes that the Russian Orthodox Church has the ability to offer a positive contribution to the building of a new Europe.

The affirmation is included in a letter sent by Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission, to Metropolitan Kirill Gundiaev of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, in charge of the Moscow Patriarchate's foreign affairs.

"The Russian Orthodox Church certainly has the title to contribute to the realization of the European Plan. This is attested by its history, Christian tradition and presence," Prodi stated. His response was published in the latest edition of the Italian magazine Il Regno.

Metropolitan Kirill offered the European Commission his contribution on questions related to constitutional and institutional reform, which began with the European Convention on Feb. 28.

"The Orthodox Church is ready to take part in the construction of an harmonious existence of the different religions of Europe," the metropolitan wrote in a letter.