The third yearly meeting of the joint workgroup on cultural cooperation between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, founded in 2015, took place yesterday at the Department for foreign relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow. It was announced by the Patriarchate in a release posted yesterday, late in the afternoon. Along with the Department’s president, the metropolitan Ilarion, there were the secretary, hieromonk Stefan, bishop Antonio Bogorodsky, director of the office for relationships with foreign foundations, and monk Silvan, member of the Patriarchal Council for Culture. The Catholic delegation consisted of the president of the Pontifical Council for the promotion of Christian unity, card. Kurt Koch, father Hyacinthe Destivelle, the archbishop of Moscow, mgr. Paolo Pezzi, and Piotr Gumenyuk of “Aid to the Church in Need”. The metropolitan bishop opened the meeting by praising “the great effectiveness” of the efforts made “in organising joint cultural events both in Russia and in Italy, as a contribution to a better knowledge of spiritual traditions of the East and West and mutual understanding between the Orthodox and Catholic churches”. Items on yesterday’s agenda included “a number of new plans for 2017-2018, including concerts of spiritual and classic music, art exhibitions, the publication of Patriarch Kirill’s and Pope Benedict XVI’s books in Italian and Russian, student exchange programmes”.