"Deep sadness" upon the death of His Holiness Alexius II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, is expressed by Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in a written statement. "Patriarch Alexius II – reads the statement – has been called to lead the Russian Orthodox Church in times of deep changes, and under his leadership his Church has faced the challenges of transition from the Soviet era until today with renewed inner vitality. He was instrumental in promoting the huge development of dioceses, parishes, monasteries, and educational institutions which contributed to give new life to a severely tried Church." "I remember – Cardinal Kasper continues – the many meetings I had with His Holiness" during which the cardinal has always noticed "his good will towards the Holy Father and his desire to strengthen the collaboration with the Catholic Church. His personal commitment to the improvement of relations with the Catholic Church has never been called into question, despite the difficulties and the tensions that have risen from time to time." The Holy See unites in prayer "with the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy and its faithful" that the Patriarch may "be rewarded" for his long ministry.

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