Odds and ends: Patriarchal meetings; accusations of Uniatism; clerical sauna baths. What’s it all about?
President Victor Yuschenko of Ukraine met with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Patriarchal Residence in Tarabya, as part of the President’s working visit to Turkey. The Archons site reports that “a cordial and whole-hearted discussion on issues of common concern” took place on May 20.
Discussions were held on a representative office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate opening in Ukraine in the format of a churchyard or a cultural and informational center. The two leaders also addressed ways to step up contacts between Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. President Yuschenko said he wants this dialogue to be intensified at all levels and confirmed his country’s interest in establishing a local Orthodox Church in Ukraine. His Excellency also said he is convinced that “the Ecumenical Church and the personal wisdom and efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarch himself play the most important role in all unification processes.”
The press service said that His All Holiness and President Yuschenko discussed preparations for the All Orthodox Council while meetings between representatives of local Orthodox Churches will take place ahead of the event.
His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France and the Very Reverend Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, were also present at the meeting on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Let us recall that, in the April 29 Kyiv Post, the “Russian patriarch calls for spiritual unification of Ukrainian, Russian people during meeting with Tymoshenko.” That would be Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Patriarch Kirill: “Kyiv for us is Constantinople, the spiritual capital of Russian Orthodoxy.” And: Relations between Ukraine and Russia “are a central, not peripheral task.”
But things are really ready to heat up. From Interfax:
Helsinki, May 21, Interfax – The clerics of the Finnish Orthodox Church of the Constantinople Patriarchate are going to participate in the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups Conference Courage to Follow the Law of Love which opened Tuesday in Järvenpää and Helsinki, Finland.
The participants will begin every day by attending the Orthodox service, and then going to sauna, the social movement Yhteys (Unity) which is fighting for the rights of sexual minorities, reports.
May 22, Helsinki University will host the open church seminar which will address the issues of homosexual relations. According to a published schedule, General Secretary of the Finnish Ecumenical Council Archpriest Heikki Huttunen will present his paper Homosexuality in the Orthodox theology.
In January issue of Aamun Koitto, this well-known priest of the Finnish Orthodox Church addressed at length his viewpoint on homosexual “marriage” as “the reflection of the Divine power and benign sexual source.”
The clergy of Constantinople Patriarchate also intends to hold a discussion of the issues of spiritual integration of homosexuals into the Church. The subject matter of one session is entitled as Can a male priest fall in love to another man and live with him?
Meanwhile, Patriarch Kirill announces he’s planning to visit the Orthodox Church of Antioch. No date announced.