Both churches have long clashed over territory, foremost over Ukraine.
But at a meeting on Friday with Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, Archbishop Hilarion said he was determined to continue the course of his predecessor on the position of external church relations department head, currently Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, to look for ways toward improving mutual understanding and relations with the Roman Catholic Church in Russia, the Moscow Patriarchate said in a statement posted on its website.
Archbishop Hilarion and Archbishop Pezzi shared their views on the need to develop more efficient cooperation between the two churches in defending traditional Christian values against modern secularism.
In this connection, Archbishop Hilarion said, “any spirit of rivalry should be left in the past.”
Archbishop Pezzi vowed to look for new forms of interaction that would meet important goals of Christian testimony and suggested that the two churches discuss the possibility of arranging joint Orthodox-Catholic events to this end.