Russia’s ‘Pope’ Visits Moscow Jewish Center

Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox church, visited the Jewish Museum of Tolerance adjacent to the Marina Roscha Synagogue in Moscow last week, where he was given a tour by Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar.


The Patriarch toured the museum’s exposition guided by Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar and FJC of Russia’s president,  Alexander Boroda, and lit a memorial candle for Holocaust victims before opening the Assembly.

During the meeting, the Patriarch thanked the leaders of the Jewish community for the opportunity to hold the assembly in the museum and noted that he was impressed by the exposition and techniques used in creating museum spaces.

Speaking after the Patriarch, Rabbi Lazar said that he sees deep symbolism in the fact that the Interfaith Assembly is taking place at the Jewish Museum. He said that besides the idea of tolerance, which the museum aims to promote, all traditional confessions in Russia are united by a common history of persecution during the Soviet regime. “We suffered together and that taught us to help each other, to be emphatic of pain and struggles of the other. Today, when religion can be practiced freely in Russia, we need to preserve our experience, strengthen connections and together stand for the eternal values of tolerance and mutual respect,” he said.

Besides interfaith connections and dialogue, religious leaders of major religions present at the Assembly discussed issues connected with ecology, culture, and art. The participants agreed that true works of art should contain a humane message that awakens people’s souls in search for truth and kindness.

The Russian Interfaith Assembly was founded in 1998. Its goals include counteraction to inter-religious conflicts, dialogue with the government and promoting mutual respect and understanding.


  • 1. CR wrote:

    This is a political meeting, not an ecumenical one. The Patriarch, for better or for worse, is as much an employee and officer of the Russian government as is Rabbi Lazar. Bear that in mind and keep that perspective when reading this news piece that could easily be interpreted unfairly.

    • 2. Andrea Schonberger wrote:

      Rabbi Lazar is a paid employee of the Russian government?!! Can you please explain this? Rabbis here are not employed by the government.

  • 3. To 1 wrote:

    I was thinking of Rabbi Pinson when I saw this. What is the difference between this and what Rabbi Pinson did

    • 4. Ch’er wrote:

      Is this a new trend ?
      (As you mention Pinson)
      Chabad rabbies meeting up with Galoochim r”l.
      Reading and understanding commentor #1 – nevertheless something is wrong here.
      My humble opinion !!!

    • 5. FYI wrote:

      R. Lazar didn’t sing and dance אורך ימים אשביעהו ואראהו בישועתי during sefirah for Patriarch Kirill.

      Big difference.

    • 6. CR wrote:

      R. Pinson is a private individual with no kesher to the Pontiff, aside from being a “man of the cloth,” so to speak. Their meeting was a “freelance” operation.

      R. Lazar and the Patriarch, by contrast, are both employees and official clergy of the Russian government. They are professional colleagues and their cooperative statements and actions amount to official declarations of the State.

      I’m just pointing out an important difference between the two events. And I will refrain from stamping either as “kosher” or otherwise.

    • 7. Milhouse wrote:

      1. Pinson went to the Pope to give him kovod. This guy came to the museum; what were they supposed to do? Throw him out? If the Pope were to come to the Iyyun Center everyone would understand if Pinson gave him a tour.

      2. This is not the Pope. He is not the Avi Avos Hatum’a. He’s just another galach.

      3. Pinson is not the Chief Rabbi of America, and Jewish relations with the Roman Church, or with any government in the world, do not depend on his compromising his standards. He’s not a shtadlan and can’t use the heterim for shtadlonus.

    • 8. logical wrote:

      To CR;

      I respect your comment however Pinson went as a representative of the rabbinic’s of our people. I speak as how it is seen from the Pontiff’s view, as other rabbis that went to him,

      We are all very clear at the rebbe’s point of view on this subject, it is a “Av Avos hatumah” quoting the rebbe here, it may be a political advantage or a different advantage that one wants to achieve, but the fact is a fact Avi Avos Hatumah doesn’t change because of your reasoning or perceptions on the issue.

    • 9. Milhouse wrote:

      Logical, for a meis mitzvah even a kohen godol is metamei himself. For legitimate shtadlonus one may go into the depths of tum’ah, and one even drinks yayin nesech, wears shatnes, and shaves ones beard. But this was not that. For Gluck maybe, not not for Pinson; he had no legitimate reason to go.

  • 10. pinson was meeting the pope wrote:

    here rabbi lazar met with someone who visited his moriscos and there was no directive from the rebbe not to meet as there was about the pope

    pinson is a fraud and a fake kabbalist

  • 11. The truth wrote:

    Just another reason Lazar is not a true shliach, the rebbe sent shluchim to be mikarev yidden, not to enroll goyim in their schools, meet with priests and get shluchim they don’t like kicked out

  • 12. Dedicated Shluchim wrote:

    Interesting point number one. We do have to be mindful of what occurs “behind the scenes”…..but, an open Torah exposed to a Galach…………

  • 13. RCL wrote:

    there is a huge difference between going to meet a galach and having him meet you.

  • 14. Ewwww wrote:

    Why did you post a picture of a galach with his tzeilems that will be viewed in thousands of Jewish home?

    • 15. Milhouse wrote:

      What tzlomim? The tzeilem on top of his hat is deliberately blurred out. What other tzeilem did you see?

    • 16. To Milhouse wrote:

      Blured smured!
      He’s a galach, he has a tzailem. On his hat, around his neck and who knows where else.
      So sorry for you that you actually looked to see and noticed it was blurred. It couldn’t have been blurred when he looked down into the Torah.
      Every child is taught and knows not to look at the face of tumah. Too bad you don’t.

  • 17. The kangeroo wrote:

    North Korea is not invaded because it has a atomic bomb.Rabbi Pinson does not posses an atomic bomb so it is easy to dismiss him.Lazar on the other hand has a hydrogen bomb.

  • 19. To Everyone wrote:

    whether or not what he did is right, to talk about yidden in such a way??
    how can we?
    this is Hashem’s Cheshbon, not ours


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