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Pope Francis will help to open Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church in Rome
Photo credit: orthedu.ru
The temple of Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church is planned to be opened in the Italian capital, according to Interfax news agency. According to Leonid Sevastyanov, who heads the World Council of Old Believers, this issue was discussed at a meeting with the head of the Catholic Church. It took place on Friday, November 8, in the Vatican. He assured that Pope Francis promised to assist in this matter. Leonid Sevastyanov added that the meeting was about obtaining a building permit.
It is planned that the future temple will be designed for one hundred and fifty people, they are going to name it in honor of Sergius of Radonezh. This saint, the head of the Union of Old Believers explained, could be called a symbol of Russia. He is revered in Italy. Leonid Sevastyanov also presented the pontiff with the icon of St. Sergius. The image was carved from wood by hand at the beginning of the last century.
The Pope became interested in the life of the Old Believers in the modern world and asked how their resettlement from Latin American countries to Russia went.
There is a large Old Believer community in Italy, which unites about twenty thousand people, mostly Romanians, Moldavians and Ukrainians. Most of them moved to Europe after 1991. There is only one active temple of the Old Believers in the country. It is situated in the northern city of Turin. Many of old believers pray at home.
The World Old Believers Union emerged in Russia recently. The main task of the new organization is to help the Old Believer communities, their members and other organizations. There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed. And the need has long been ripe for a structure to help the Old Believers. The union is being contacted from different countries, including from Australia, where almost fifty thousand Old Believers live. Old Believers who really need support are in America, Alaska, the Baltic states and Latin America.