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Dubai: historic meeting between Orthodox church and Islam

 A representative of the Russian Orthodox Church made an unprecedented visit to the Gulf region yesterday, to meet with the leaders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, president of the department for external relations of the Russian patriarchate, arrived in Dubai on behalf of the Patriarch Alexei II (the 15th patriarch and leader of the Russian Orthodox Church since 1990). Leading a high-profile delegation from Moscow, Kirill met with Islamic religious representatives and ministers of the Emirates, declaring that dialogue between Christianity and Islam "is extremely important and must continue, if we want to reach peace, friendship, tolerance and reciprocal respect". The deputy president of the Russian People's Council Andrei Okhotkin, a member of the delegation, said that this visit represented "an historic moment in relations between the Russian patriarchate and the Arab leaders in the Gulf". There are rumours that the Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad has reached an agreement with the UAE authorities for the construction of a church on the outskirts of Dubai. According to figures released by the patriarchate, roughly 10,000 Orthodox Christians live in the Emirates. Source: MISNA