Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser will pay his last visit as World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary to the Russian Orthodox Church, 4-8 July. It will be his third visit to the church - the first was in 1993 soon after he had began serving as WCC general secretary, the second in 1998 before the WCC Assembly in Harare.
"Just as I had made inaugural visits to the leadership of the two most prominent Orthodox churches at the beginning of my service as general secretary, so I felt I should offer this visit in order to 'take my leave'", Raiser explained. A visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople is planned for November. Raiser retires at the end of 2003.
Raiser expressed particular interest in discussing with the church leadership the response to the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC and how the Church is anticipating the Ninth Assembly of the WCC in 2006.
Raiser will meet with the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Kiev, Ukraine; Minsk, Belarus; and Moscow, Russia and visit parishes and projects of the church.
In Minsk, he will also make a presentation at a seminar organized by the St. Kirill and Methodius Centre for Christian Education on "The Role of the World Council of Churches in the Age of Globalization."
In Moscow, in addition to meetings with the Patriarchate and Department for External Church Relations, Raiser will meet with representatives of the Russian parliament and government.
The Russian Orthodox Church has been a member of the WCC since 1961.
For information in Russian on the WCC, see www.wcc-coe.org