In an interview with Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias spoke yesterday about the ecclesiastical aspect of Greek-Russian relations.
Asked about the current level of Greek-Russian relations, Nikos Dendias said that the Greek side made efforts to improve them despite “Russia’s caesaropapism in the Byzantine sense” and he made clear that “the idea of the Patriarchate of Moscow on the Third Rome is well known but the Hellenic Republic is not involved in the church matters.”
Referring to the Greek-Russian relations, the Greek minister stressed, “I think that the ecclesiastical issue is something that in the Russian view does not work positively in the Greek-Russian relations. Nevertheless, I think that both the historical depth and the community, such as the same religion, will help to improve the Greek-Russian relations in the medium term, and we will pursue that.”
He added that “the idea of the Patriarchate of Moscow regarding the Third Rome is well known, we all know it. However, the Hellenic Republic is not involved in the church matters. We are trying to make it clear to our Russian interlocutors.”
The Greek Foreign Minister finally pointed out that in Russia “there is a caesaropapism in the Byzantine sense, perhaps more active than one might say in our country, but let alone the Ecumenical Patriarch is not even in the Greek territory. He is not even a Greek citizen. I would say this: If you look at President Putin’s address to the new Greek Ambassador, Mrs. Nasika, you will see that our relations with Russia are staring to thaw.”