Moscow, - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has said that the All-Orthodox Council will be held in Istanbul in 2016 but preparations for it have not been simple.
"If everything goes well, the Council will be held in 2016," the patriarch said at a ceremony which saw him being awarded with a doctorate from the Russian Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy at this educational institution on Thursday.
The historical forum will discuss topics such as the relationship between church and society, the believers' views on contemporary problems, he said.
"As ever around historical events there are some intrigues, undercurrents and attempts to influence, including on the part of political forces. We are seeing all that, especially in connection with the Ukrainian crisis," the patriarch said.
He also touched on the subject of the Middle East, pointing out that the massive exodus of Christians from this region is upsetting the balance there and serves as feeding ground for extremism.
"In Syria, 400 Christian churches were destroyed just because someone does not like the fact that the Christian community has historically lived there," Patriarch Kirill said.