Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and Polish Archbishop Jozef Michalik sign a message of reconciliation during a ceremony in Warsaw Aug. 17.

CNS PHOTO | KACPER PEMPEL, REUTERS

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and Polish Archbishop Jozef Michalik sign a message of reconciliation during a ceremony in Warsaw Aug. 17.

August 27, 2012

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church and the president of the Polish Catholic bishops' conference signed a joint message Aug. 17 urging Poles and Russians to set aside centuries of anger and prejudice and work together to maintain their countries' Christian identities.

The signing of the reconciliation Message to the Nations of Poland and Russia was the key moment of the first-ever visit of a Russian Orthodox patriarch to modern Poland.

"We enter a path of honest dialogue in the hope that it will heal the wounds of the past, facilitate our overcoming mutual prejudice and misunderstanding and strengthen us in our pursuit of reconciliation," said the message signed by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemysl.