July 25, 2014

Bartholomew, Kirill Hold Patriarchal ‘Summit’ in Istanbul

A quick roundup: Andrei Zolotov, Jr., Chief Editor of Russia Profile and Deputy Director of the RIA Novosti Foreign Service, says that the recent Chambesy conference organized to discuss the "diaspora" resulted in Constantinople making concessions to Moscow. A report in the Kyiv Post says the patriarchs are putting on "a united front" despite the fact that they were to discuss the "sensitive issue of the churches in Ukraine and Estonia during the three-day visit to Turkey." The Greek news service ANA says "Patriarch Bartholomew underlined the need for unity within the Orthodox Church in order to meet the challenges of the times." Kathimerini reports that "the outcome of the meeting is keenly awaited by senior clerics both in Moscow and at the Vatican." Full text of Zolotov's analysis follows: A three-day visit by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to Istanbul is more than just his first official trip abroad as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church or than his first visit … [Read more...]

Moscow Patriarchate reports on Chambesy meeting

The Moscow Patriarchate has released a statement, in English, on the work of the all-Orthodox pre-conciliar meeting in Chambesy, Switzerland, earlier this month. The patriarchate explains how "episcopal assemblies" are to be constituted. Text follows: The 4th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference, which took place at the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Orthodox Center in Chambesy near Geneva, completed its work on 12 June 2009. The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church led by Archpriest Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, included Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain, Russian Church Outside Russia, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR vice-chairman, and Mr. A. Churyakov, an interpreter. The conference was chaired by Metropolitan John of Pergamon. Metropolitan Jeremiah of Switzerland, Patriarchate of Constantinople, acted as its secretary. It was attended by delegations of the Patriarchates of … [Read more...]

AsiaNews: ‘Historic’ decision in Chambésy

On the Roman Catholic site AsiaNews, Nat da Polis files a report on the Fourth Pre-Conciliar meeting of Orthodox hierarchs who assembled last week in Switzerland to discuss the problem of the "diaspora." Da Polis views the pending trip of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul as a "significant step" in sorting out the disarray. Story follows. Historic Orthodox decision, migrant communities to have their own bishops’ conferences Istanbul (AsiaNews) – The first of two meetings scheduled for 2009 was held in Sabezy [Chambésy, Switzerland, ed.] to prepare the much awaited Pan-Orthodox Synod. In agreeing to set up Bishops’ Conferences for Orthodox Diaspora communities, the meeting reached a historic decision. According to existing rules, Orthodox believers living outside their country of origin fall under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. However, the large-scale migration that followed the collapse of the Iron Curtain generated … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill ‘copying John Paul II’

In the New York Times, Sophia Kishkovsky files a report on Patriarch Kirill's recent youth rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg where he struck both nationalist and highly personal tones. Patriarch Kirill also did not mention America, but said immoral economies are doomed to collapse. “An economic system built only on the striving for profit, on indifference to the fate of people, on disregard for moral norms, is deprived of stability and can collapse at any moment, burying the fate of people under its rubble,” he said. Here in St. Petersburg, Patriarch Kirill struck a much more personal tone. He made a generous reference to Martin Luther King Jr. — whom Kirill said he met in 1968 — and his “I Have a Dream” speech, and stressed the importance of true love and of striving for ideals. “He wasn’t a dreamer, he was a brilliant politician, orator, and Christian pastor,” Patriarch Kirill said of Dr. King, addressing some 8,000 students. “But he had a dream, and this dream led to … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox in Rome

Good coverage in the New York Times about the dedication on Sunday of the Church of the Great Martyr Saint Catherine on the grounds of the Russian Embassy in Rome. From Russian Orthodox Consecrate Parish in Rome: “Today is a special event,” said Andrey Shumkin, a priest with the delegation from the Moscow Patriarchate, “and the presence of two cardinals here is a visual sign of collaboration.” Cardinal Kasper said that “a lot of progress” between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox church had been made in the last 10 years. Both sides have demonstrated a willingness to discuss, as have the pope and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, he said. A meeting between the two will come “when the time is mature,” he said. And, from the advance story, Relations Warm Between Russian Orthodox Church and Vatican: Reflecting Russia’s geopolitical dance with Europe, the Moscow Patriarchate has found common ground with Benedict, and since Patriarch Kirill … [Read more...]

A Brief Roundup

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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 … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill: A Global Reach

Russia's new patriarch is "proving to be a capable administrator" and has surrounded himself with a team of "well-trained and capable younger clerics," say Leonid Sevastyanov and Robert Moynihan in the Moscow Times. In "100 Days of Patriarch Kirill," the writers also say that the new leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has a "fully European" vision for his ministry. Kirill now heads a church with about 140 million adherents, far larger than the Anglican Church and second only to the Roman Catholic Church. With a significant percent of Orthodox believers living outside Russia, this gives the church a truly global reach. But statistics are less important than suffering and faith. The Russian Orthodox Church suffered greatly under Soviet rule. Now it has re-emerged from the catacombs following the collapse of the Soviet Union 17 years ago to take on a greater role in post-Soviet Russia. Despite the enormous challenges that the Orthodox Church faces, now is the time of … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill welcomes Metropolitan Jonah in Moscow

Metropolitan Jonah (left) and Patriarch Kirill in Moscow

Official statement from the Moscow Patriarchate (HT: Byzantine, TX, and Rocor United): On the 26th of April 2009, Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America served liturgy with Patriarch Kirill at Christ the Savior Cathedral. The Patriarch then addressed Metropolitan Jonah with the following words: Your Eminence Jonah, Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of all America and Canada, beloved in Christ brother and co-celebrant! Wise bishops and priests! Dear brothers and sisters! Christ is Risen! It brings me great joy to greet the delegation of the Orthodox Church in America headed by His Eminence Vladyka Jonah during these bright Paschal days. In your first official visit as a newly-chosen primate, which you are making to the Moscow Patriarchate, you have emphasized the special interrelation of American Orthodoxy with its Mother Church. This relation, filled with a spirit of love and unity, truly can be characterized by the words of the apostle, “One … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill: Easter greetings to Churches

Patriarch Kirill addresses his flock with a Paschal message Moscow, April 19, Interfax - On the eve of the Resurrection of Christ, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia turned to his flock with his first Paschal message. "Christ's resurrection is the foundation of a life that has conquered death, sin and corruption. We are called to relive Easter as the triumph of life not only on this day: every Sunday reveals to us the majesty of the Saviour's feat, liberating us from death and destroying the fetters of sin which separate man from God," Patriarch Kirill reminded. … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill shakes up Russian Orthodox hierarchy; Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev to head External Relations

A report in Georgian Daily by Paul A. Goble details a number of new appointments and transfers put in motion by Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Goble says that "Russian commentators agree" that the patriarch intends to use his position to promote a more public and more active approach at home and abroad. But, citing a report by Aleksandr Soldatov on the Russian language Portal-Credo site, Goble says there are also signs of preparations for a major council. At the direction of Kirill, the Holy Synod created a “still mysterious” commission for the preparation of materials in anticipation of an as yet undefined and unscheduled church council or “sobor" and named Archmonk Saava, who is particularly close to the new patriarch as its secretary. This group, which Kirill apparently will chair could prove to be only a place holder for housekeeping functions or it could – and Soldatov suggests that Kirill’s own personality makes this more likely – a staging … [Read more...]

All-Orthodox Council on the way?

Interfax reports that planning for a council of Orthodox Churches is actively underway. “We expect that preparatory process for the great and holy All-Orthodox Council of the Eastern Church will be revived,” Inter-Orthodox Secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov said on Friday. He reminded that preparations for the Council started in 1960 and after 30 years “unfortunately, they were suspended, but not through the Russian Church fault.” The Preparatory Commission last met about fifteen years ago. Fr. Nikolay reminded that last autumn at the Istanbul meeting between primates of all Orthodox Churches Patriarch Kirill (then Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad - IF) “actively and largely contributed” in taking decisions to lead preparatory work out of the deadlock. … [Read more...]

Battle for the ‘Soul of Orthodoxy’ in the UK?

Writing for the Independent, a UK newspaper, Paul Vallely looks at a legal battle over control of an Orthodox cathedral. The power struggle, he writes, began with an influx of Russian immigrants to the United Kingdom and their clash with an assimilated, diverse Orthodox community. "Huge numbers arrived," says one of the parishioners, Ruth Nares, a teacher who converted from Anglicanism two decades before because of what she describes as Orthodoxy's extraordinary sense of sacredness. "We were a community of white Russians, Finns, French, Italians and English converts. But the incomers had a different mentality. To many, it was just a place to meet fellow Russians. They would come in halfway through service, talking loudly at the back, and started making lunch there." Karin Greenhead, a musician, says: "There was a lot of unpleasantness and elbowing and pushing. It was noisy and unprayerful. There was even a fight outside the church." But it was not just the congregation that … [Read more...]