April 19, 2014

Moscow thanks Pope for not pressing on meeting

From Interfax (2009-12-16): Moscow -- The Moscow Patriarchate is grateful to Pope Benedict XVI for understanding problems between the two Churches and not pressing on with visiting Russia and meeting with the Patriarch. "Pope Benedict XVI perfectly understands the existing difficulties and therefore is not pressing on his meeting with the Patriarch, not to mention visiting Russia, as was done under his predecessor. We are grateful to him for this," the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk said in an interview published in Der Spiegel, whose Russian translation the Department for External Church Relations has published on its website. The Russian Orthodox Church does not rule out the possibility of a meeting between the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Pope, but believes that it should be preceded by the resolution of the problems between them rather than be turned into "just a protocol meeting and … [Read more...]

Moscow clarifies its position on Orthodoxy in America

Source: Yahoo! Groups [From the December 2009 Orthodox Christian Laity newsletter, vol. 5, Number 2] The following letter translated from the Russian dated November 13, 2009 was received at the OCL Office via fax November 16. It is addressed to former OCL President Peter Petkas. It is from the Moscow Patriarchate, Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod, Department for External Church Relations, Danilov Monastery. The letter relates to the recently published "Orthodox Christianity at the Crossroad A Great Council of the Church - When and Why" Dear Mr. Petkas, On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, I would like to thank you for the series of essay[s] devoted to the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church, since the 1961 Rhodes Meeting has been a permanent participant in the Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conferences. The latest, 4th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference was devoted to the diaspora, and the … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion responds to U.S. State Dept. report on religious freedom

In late October, the State Department released the 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom, a study annually submitted to Congress. Remarks on the study by Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, are available here. (The country report for Turkey is available here.) The Russian foreign ministry said, on publication of the report, that it was compelled "to reiterate our previous repeated assessments of the U.S. State Department report as a politically engaged, garbled document which intentionally distorts the real situation of religious freedom in Russia and keeps silent about positive developments in this field." Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk issued his own response to the State Department study (full text at the bottom of this post) which amounts to a summary of the Moscow Patriarchate's position on religious freedom in Russia. While much more temperate than the Russian government's response, the archbishop's letter did, … [Read more...]

A ‘Controversial’ Priest

The Russian Orthodox priest gunned down in his church last week was buried yesterday in Moscow. There has been an intense amount of media coverage of this crime and most of the speculation, by the media and police authorities, centers on a suspected Islamist killer in light of Fr. Daniel Sysoyev's outspoken and aggressive campaign to promote Orthodox Christianity among Muslims and other non-Christian communities. From the Moscow Times: Church insiders said the attack, which happened late Thursday in southern Moscow, could have been the work of radical Islamists, who had regularly threatened him for preaching to Muslims. Law enforcement officials said they believed religion was the primary motive in the killing. The 35-year-old Sysoyev, who led the St. Thomas Church on Kantemirovskaya Ulitsa, was shot point-blank four times by an unidentified man wearing a medical face mask, police said. He was severely wounded and died in an ambulance. Vladimir Strelbitsky, a … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion on Orthodox-Catholic relations

From the Moscow Patriarchate, Nov. 12, 2009: During his meeting with foreign media people on 11 November 2009, Archbishop Hilarion spoke on burning issues of inter-Christian relations. He said in particular that considerable improvements took shape in relations with the Roman Catholic Church in recent years. ‘There is a regular mechanism of mutual consultations and high-level visits… We can state that we are moving towards the moment when the preparation of a meeting between the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Moscow will become possible. I would like to underline that we have no concrete plans concerning the venue and date of this meetings but the both sides show a desire to prepare it’, he said. According to His Eminence Hilarion, this meeting should serve to find ‘a common platform’ for issues of bilateral relations, which are still disputable or divisive. ‘As soon as it is found and appropriate agreements are prepared to be signed by the two Churches, this meeting will … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion on social problems

From the Moscow Patriarchate, Nov. 12, 2009: During his meeting with foreign journalists on 11 November 2009, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk answered questions concerning urgent problems of society today. Asked about the Church’s view of some problems of bioethics, especially the use of artificial life-support systems to prolong the life of a patient, he said, ‘It is a very complicated issue. We in the Orthodox Church do not believe that one’s life should be certainly prolonged by artificial means. We believe a human being is born when it pleases God and dies when it pleases God. Complications arise when artificial life-support systems are used in a critical situation when there is a hope for one’s survival and return to normal life. But then one’s organism as if adjusts itself to these machines without one’s regaining consciousness. One continues to live in a vegetative state and here a complicated dilemma arises indeed: who can switch off these machines thus actually … [Read more...]

Russian monasticism and the legacy of Communism

The Zenit news service interviews Fr. Peter Mescerinov, vice-director of the Center for the Spiritual Formation of Children and Adolescents of the Moscow Patriarchate, about the "new and enduring challenges of Russian monasticism." ZENIT: What is the reality of these [monastic] communities today? Father Mescerinov: The principal tragedy of our ecclesial life today is the absolute lack of community. There are communities that are born in contrast to the position of the Church in a general sense; however, there are no communities as such as a norm of community life. This is linked no doubt to the Soviet legacy, because in that period every aggregation was regarded with suspicion and in danger of being repressed; in fact, an anti-solidarity instinct has been created in the very conscience of many generations of persons. When people enter the Church today, educated according to this mentality, it is very difficult [for them] to feel and even to understand that it is a … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill to U.S. in 2010?

kirill-obama

Alex at ROCOR United, citing two sources, says Patriarch Kirill may be paying a visit to the United States: Our sources in Russia have told us that Patriarch Kirill will be coming for an official visit to the USA in early 2010. The same news is also coming from other bloggers including Voices of Russia. In what would be an extremely hectic schedule, the Patriarch would be visiting places such as the Synodal Headquaters in New York City as well as possibly taking in the Joy of All Who Sorrow Cathedral in San Francisco to venerate the relics of St John Maximovitch. It is thought the Patriarch will also visit Jordanville to pay respects to the final resting place of the late Metropolitan Laurus, one of the architects of the blessed reunion of the two parts of the Russian Church in 2007. More here. … [Read more...]

Hilarion and Chrysostomos meet on Cyprus issues

Archbishops Chrysostomos (left) and Hilarion

The Russian Orthodox influence in the Mediterranean grows. Source: Moscow Patriarchate. On 22 October 2009, the Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk met with His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Nea Justiniana and All Cyprus. Taking part in the meeting that took place in Paphos, Cyprus, was Metropolitan Isaiah (Kykkotis) of Tamassos. They discussed a wide range of the problems of mutual interest in the atmosphere of fraternal understanding. Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk thanked the Primate of the Church of Cyprus for his care for the Russian-speaking flock living in Cyprus. Having noted that the need in spiritual care for the Russian-speaking population is increasing, he suggested that, following the established practice, the future clergymen of the Church of Cyprus should be sent to the theological schools of the Russian Orthodox Church to learn the Russian language and the traditions of the Russian … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill’s birthday greetings to Metropolitan Jonah

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia congratulates the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America on his 50th birthday. Source: Moscow Patriarchate. Your Beatitude, Beloved Brother and Concelebrant in the Lord: I wholeheartedly greet and congratulate you on the your 50th birthday. On this day, I lift up an ardent prayer to God for you and remember with warmth the moments of our fraternal fellowship during your official visit to the Russian Orthodox Church, which enabled us to experience once again the spiritual and historical kindred of our two Churches. Your jubilee is a feast not only for the Orthodox Church in America but also for the Moscow Patriarchate tied with the life of the American Orthodox by historical bonds. May the Lord Who has place on you the heavy burden of primatial service of the Orthodox Church in America bless your primatial efforts and multiply and strengthen your God-loving flock. I prayerfully wish you good health and inexhaustible … [Read more...]

Moscow: No meeting with pope in the works

From Interfax (Oct. 7): Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk has denied reports that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia might visit the Vatican in the near future. "No preparations are being made for the Patriarch's trip to the Vatican and his meeting with the Pope at any particular place or at any particular time," Archbishop Hilarion said while taking questions from journalists in Moscow. The possibility of the Pope's visit to Russia in the near future is not being discussed, either, he said. "The matter may imply a meeting on neutral ground, as they say now," he said. Archbishop Hilarion insisted that the main purpose of a dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church is not so much a meeting between their heads as such as "radical improvement in our relations and the overcoming of the existing problems." He mentioned among such problems proselytism, a too … [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...]