July 30, 2014

The Primacy Problem (Catholic and Orthodox)

In an interview with the National Catholic Register's Edward Pentin, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk talks about his first official visit to Rome in September as chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Affairs. He offers a caution about any Catholic-Orthodox union, something that media reports and at least one Catholic bishop said was imminent. In pointing out that the Roman Catholic understanding of the primacy of the bishop of Rome was a chief sticking point, Archbishop Hilarion also observed that the Orthodox have primacy issues, too. At least from the Russian perspective. NCR: Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of Moscow was recently very optimistic about Catholic-Orthodox unity, saying it could possibly happen in a matter of months. What is your reaction to Archbishop Pezzi’s words, and what is your analysis of the current progress towards reunification? Archbishop Hilarion: I would be more cautious with regard to progress towards unity between … [Read more...]

Stalin, Russianness and Orthodoxy

stalin

AsiaNews, the Roman Catholic news service, looks at how some elements in Russian society are working to rehabilitate Stalin's reputation and sees the Russian Orthodox Church "co-opted" into this process. The makeover of Stalin’s image and the Soviet Era go together with an attempt by Russian rulers to restore the country’s cultural identity, an impossible mission without the cooptation of Russian Orthodoxy. The Moscow Patriarchate, in spite of itself, is much involved in this issue, and has often been accused of playing right into the Kremlin’s hands in order to gain cultural supremacy in Russian society. Aleksandr Cipko, a philosopher and editorial writer, from the pages of Nezavisimaja Gazeta on 15 September slammed the operation to revive the myth of Russia’s supremacy over the West. For him, there is a danger that Stalin will be seen as the embodiment of the original Russian project rather than Communism. The philosopher is angered by self-styled “true patriots” who … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion: Be like Christ

From an interview in the Russian publication Argumenty I Fakty, republished on the site of the Moscow Patriarchate. Worth reading in its entirety. Excerpts: Should the Church do something to attract young people? Should it seek a special approach to them? I believe that the search for real freedom is a worthy thing not only for young people but also for all those who are seeking the true life. The Church appreciates the aspiration of the young to freedom and independence, as Christians have never been the adherents of the submissiveness to the reality in which they live and which bears the apparent traces of sin. At the same time, the search for freedom, unfortunately, do not always bring people to their cherished goals. Young people often take permissiveness and nihilism for freedom. As a result, after a natural dependence of their parents up to a certain age they become slaves of consumers’ worldview and brute instincts that the slavery exploits. Therefore the Church … [Read more...]

Moscow: Limited jurisdiction for Constantinople

Pope Benedict and Archbishop Hilarion

From the Moscow Patriarchate's report on the recent meeting between Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk and Pope Benedict XVI: Archbishop Hilarion stressed the importance of the Orthodox and Catholic common witness to traditional Christian values in face of the secular world. He pointed to the identity of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches’ views on such themes as family, motherhood, population crisis, euthanasia and many other ethical issues. The DECR chairman pointed to essential differences existing on these issues between the Orthodox and Catholics, on one hand, and various Protestant communities, on the other. In this situation the Orthodox-Catholic cooperation in elaborating a common stand on these issues acquired a special importance, he said. Archbishop Hilarion also pointed to the need to enhance the positive potential of the bilateral relations including cooperation in the field of culture. The DECR chairman and the head of the Roman Catholic Church discussed … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion makes appeal for Christian unity

From Interfax: Moscow, September 21 -- Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is visiting Rome, has celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Catacombs of St. Callixtus. Speaking to believers after the service, the Archbishop urged to overcome a thousand-year-old dispute between Christians of East and West and reminded about heroism of first Christians who prayed in catacombs and preserved unity in spite of persecutions from outside. “Denied by the world, far from human eyes, deep under ground in caves, first Roman Christians performed the feat of prayer. Their life brought fruit of holiness and martyr heroism. The Holy Church was built on their blood shed for Christ,” the DECR press service has cited Archbishop Hilarion as saying. Then Church came out of the catacombs, but Christian unity was lost, the Archbishop further said. Today, when the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church don’t have … [Read more...]

A Catholic-Orthodox Union?

We should all be extremely cautious about the recent comments about a Catholic-Orthodox union (Fr. Peter-Michael Preble has already raised important questions about these reports). Outside of the obvious and thorny theological questions – on both sides – that would arise, is there any way such a union could take place without first convening an all-Orthodox Council? And if such a council would move in that direction, would the whole Church accept that council as Orthodox? In "Needed: Both Lungs," the editors of the National Catholic Register quote Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of Moscow who told an Italian newspaper that unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches could be accomplished in the very near future. In fact, the paper reported, the archbishop predicted that it could be a reality “within a few months.” At the same time, we read that "Moscow Patriarchate believes Uniate expansion in Ukraine the most complicated problem in relations with Vatican," according to an Interfax … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion to visit Vatican soon

Met. Hilarion

Moscow, September 9, Interfax – Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk is going on a working visit to Vatican to discuss issues connected with dialogue between the two Churches. He told it at his meeting with Dominican Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso in Moscow. According to the Archbishop, today the Moscow Patriarchate has set out “good relations” with the Roman Catholic Church, which have been particularly improved in recent years under Pope Benedict XVI of Rome. “We have frank and rather efficient dialogue and its objective is to present Christian vision to our present world and give answers to the questions raised by today’s reality,” the DECR head said. HT: Byzantine Texas. … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion: Stalin a ‘Monster’

HT: ONet blog Russian archbishop's censure of Stalin as “a monster” makes waves By Sophia Kishkovsky Tuesday, 04 August 2009 23:00 MOSCOW (ENI) -— Comments by a senior official of the Russian Orthodox Church condemning Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, accusing him of genocide, shortly before a European security forum equated the crimes of Stalin and Hitler, have stirred heated debate in the Russian media and blogosphere. "I think that Stalin was a spiritually-deformed monster, who created a horrific, inhuman system of ruling the country," Archbishop Hilarion had said in a June interview with the news magazine Ekspert. "He unleashed a genocide against the people of his own country and bears personal responsibility for the death of millions of innocent people. In this respect Stalin is completely comparable to Hitler." … [Read more...]

Ukrainian Orthodoxy ‘Very Politicized’

From the Religious Information Service of the Ukraine: MOSCOW—Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) expressed confidence that foreign structures will not interfere with church problems in Ukraine. In particular, they mean the Constantinople Patriarchate, which, according to the ROC representatives, the Ukrainian authorities hoped to engage in the establishment of a national church separate from the Moscow Patriarchate. “They (Constantinople Patriarchate) understand well that Ukraine is an integral part of the Russian Orthodox Church, that there exists spiritual unity of nations – Russians, Ukrainians, Moldovians, Belarusians,” noted the head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Ilarion (Alfeiev) of Volokolamsk, at a press conference in Moscow about the visit of the head of ROC to Istanbul in early July. News.ru reports that in the archbishop’s opinion, the very tone of the past negotiations shows that the … [Read more...]

Interview: A Mission in the World

The Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate distributed "A Mission in the World," an interview of Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk by Expert Magazine (Issue No. 23 (661) June 15, 2009). Expert Magazine Your Eminence, one hundred days have passed since the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. What has changed in church-society relations since? Have any new tendencies emerged? Archbishop Hilarion The man who ascended to the throne of the Moscow Patriarchate is one who has been known for many years for his focus on mission and his capacity to shed light on matters. He has long been in active co-operation with all parts of the society, hosting a TV programme of his own and making regular appearances in the print media. Even before he was elected Patriarch, he was known and loved by millions of Russian Orthodox faithful throughout the world. He has gained authority in broad public circles. Metropolitan Kirill accumulated a unique … [Read more...]

On the ‘gradual consolidation of the Orthodox diasporas’

Comments from Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk on the pre-conciliar deliberations at Chambesy, Switzerland, which was to address, in part, "problems in the Orthodox diaspora." In this interview with the Russian news service Interfax, before leaving for the meeting, the archbishop talks about the "many faces" of the Orthodox 'diaspora' and the agenda setting process for a Great Council. The Chambesy meeting, scheduled for June 6-13, is the fourth Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference with the most recent one taking place in 1986, according to the news service. Interfax: The forthcoming Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference in Chambesy will deal with the Orthodox diaspora. What is today’s Orthodox diaspora in your view? Can we speak about even the smallest degree of its integrity or does it represent scattered local communities of the faithful of Local Churches whose ethnic and national ‘dividing walls’ reach as high as heaven? Archbishop Hilarion: The life and … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion Predicts ‘New Local Churches’

From Interfax: Archbishop Hilarion contemplates the establishment of new local Orthodox Churches Moscow, June 1, - Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk believes that the current Inter-Orthodox consultations may cause the establishment of new local Orthodox churches. "It is our opinion that the progressive consolidation of Orthodox communities will eventually result in the establishment of new local Orthodox Churches," Archbishop Hilarion said Interfax-Religion on Monday. According to him, the claims that Orthodox communities are "isolated from each other" evidence "the lack of knowledge about the real life of the community." "Orthodox believers usually seek communication with each other, and sometimes people make long trips, overcome language barriers and other obstacles to meet a particular Orthodox priest or attend a particular service," the Archbishop said. He highlighted that Orthodoxy had … [Read more...]