WARSAW — The leaders of Russia’s Orthodox church and Poland’s Catholic church signed a document Friday that urges their nations to forgive each other for past wrongs.
The signing in Warsaw during the first visit to Poland by a Russian patriarch has been described by the churches as a historic act of reconciliation and the establishment of a bridge between the denominations. The two nations feuded for centuries and their ties are still marked by distrust.
‘‘We appeal to our believers to ask for the forgiveness of wrongs, injustice, and every evil committed against each other,’’ the document said. ‘‘We are certain that this is the first and the most important step toward rebuilding mutual trust.’’
The document was signed during a ceremony at Warsaw’s Royal Castle by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and Archbishop Jozef Michalik, the Polish church’s highest-ranking leader.
The document they signed mentions the ‘‘open enmity, even fighting between our nations’’ in the past and calls for a ‘‘brotherly dialogue’’ in all walks of life. The clerics said it is a religion-motivated call to the hearts and minds of ordinary people in both nations.
Kirill stressed that serving Christian religion obliges church leaders to promote the reconciliation.
The many sources of bitterness between Poles and Russians include Polish resentment over Moscow’s control of Poland during the communist era.
Relations between the Orthodox church and the Catholic church also have been tense.