Lavrov: Russia studies steps towards overcoming crisis in Syria

MOSCOW-Russia is studying what secular authorities and churches can do in order to overcome the crisis in Syria and calm down the situation in the region, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting with Patriarch John X of Antioch on Wednesday, according to ITAR TASS.

 “We value traditional relations between our churches. They help reach accord, which is indispensable in the world and in the Middle East,” Lavrov said.

Mikhail, first metropolitan of Rus, came from Syria, the minister said.

 “Traditional interaction, friendship and brotherly relations between our churches are in demand as never before,” he said, adding that the "Arab Spring" events “affect the fate of Christians, who lived with Arabs in peace and accord over two thousand years”.

 “Today the coexistence, friendship between Orthodox believers and Muslims are under serious tests. Thus, our dialogue is important to prevent the worse scenario,” Lavrov said.

Patriarch John X thanked Russia for its stance on Syria

Patriarch John X of Antioch has thanked Russia for the peace position that the country takes on the situation in Syria.

 “Russia’s position on the Middle East, particularly on Syria and Lebanon, is especially important and it is based on the hard-and-fast guidelines,” the patriarch said at a meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday.

John X also praised Russia’s humanitarian supplies to Syria. “We’re distributing humanitarian aid to everyone without any difference - to Christians and Muslims. We note the importance of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims and we stand for peace in the region,” the patriarch of Antioch said.

 “Relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Antioch Church are historical and brotherly,” John X said.

Syria should be united and Lebanon should be a stable and safe country to make Christians and Muslims coexist in peace and mutual respect, the patriarch said.

 “We confirm our drive for preserving our roots and staying on the motherland of our ancestors because it is very difficult to imagine the Middle East without Christians,” he said.