August 30, 2014

Catholic Herald: In Russia, the path to unity is defrosting

the-catholic-herald

Roman Catholic reporting about union between Rome and Orthodoxy tends to be over optimistic. The Catholics seem to want union much more than the Orthodox do. A clearer assessment might be that Moscow sees cooperation with Rome as necessary to re-Christianize Europe, to help Europe rediscover its moral and religious moorings. Nevertheless, a significant thaw is occurring. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Neville Kyrke-Smith has visited Eastern Europe for the past 25 years. Now, he believes the end of the schism with the Orthodox is in sight "The Lefebvrists, the Anglicans... will it be the Orthodox next?" asked one slightly bewildered Catholic priest recently. Pope Benedict XVI is turning out to be ecumenically audacious. For this he has faced criticism, misunderstanding and accusations of insensitivity. But Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church seem now to be making progress in preparing the ground to overcome the Great Schism of 1054. When I … [Read more...]

Kremlin, Vatican upgrade diplomatic ties

Kremlin

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI and visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed Thursday to upgrade Vatican-Kremlin relations to full diplomatic ties, the Vatican said. The step forward on the diplomatic front comes at the same time as a warming in previously tense relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican. A Vatican statement said Benedict and Medvedev agreed that Russia will upgrade its representation at the Vatican from a special mission to embassy level and that the Vatican will reciprocate in Moscow. The two men also discussed challenges to "security and peace" in the world and "themes of mutual interest such as the value of the family and the contribution of believers to the life of Russia," the Vatican said. More >>> … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew greets Vatican delegation at the Phanar

Pat. Bartholomew and Card. Kasper

From the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle: Istanbul, Turkey 11/30/2009 His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed a Vatican delegation representing Pope Benedict XVI at the Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on November 30, 2009. The delegation, led by Cardinal Walter Kasper also delivered greetings to His All Holiness on behalf of Pope Benedict. The Ecumenical Patriarch's greeting on the feast of St. Andrew the First Called follows: Your Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper, representative of His Holiness the Pope and Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI, and your honorable entourage, It is with great joy that we welcome you once again to the courtyard of the Church of New Rome in order to concelebrate the sacred memory of its founder and protector Saint Andrew the First-Called of the Apostles. We express our heartfelt gratitude to our beloved brother in the Lord, His Holiness Pope Benedict of Old Rome, who deigned to delegate his representatives to the … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox launch the St. Gregory Nazianzus Foundation

inside-the-vatican-mag

Robert Moynihan, editor of the Inside the Vatican newsletter, is in Moscow visiting with Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk and other church people. He reports that "the Russian Orthodox have now decided to engage with Catholics, and others, in a collaboration which can be compared to an actual alliance against the great social evils of our day, not only in Russia, but also throughout Europe and the world." Moynihan says that this effort will be directed by a new think tank, the St. Gregory Nazianzus Foundation, which has the blessing of Patriarch Kirill. Archbishop Hilarion, working with a team of young Orthodox clergy and laymen, decided to found the St. Gregory Nazianzus Foundation in order to work together with Catholics and others in the West, to support traditional spiritual values in Russia, but also throughout the world, St. Greory was a theologian in the 300s, well before the division of the Church into East and West, and so is venerated both by the Catholics and by the … [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...]

Orthodox-Catholic Consultation Responds to ‘Ravenna Document’

SCOBA has released the joint response of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation to the international dialogue's 2007 "Ravenna Document." This took place at the Consultation's 77th meeting, held at Saint Paul's College in Washington, from October 22-24, 2009. It was presided over by Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh and Roman Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also released a statement on Ravenna. Catholic Culture said that North American statement was "a candid critique of the 2007 'Ravenna document,' a modest milestone in Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical relations." … [Read more...]

Catholic-Orthodox meeting on Cyprus wraps up

See you next year in Vienna: According to a statement released by the dialogue commission Oct. 23, the commission's Orthodox members discussed "the negative reactions to the dialogue by certain Orthodox circles and unanimously considered them as totally unfounded and unacceptable, providing false and misleading information." The Orthodox delegates "reaffirmed that the dialogue continues with the decision of all the Orthodox churches and is pursued with faithfulness to the truth and the tradition of the church," said the statement released in Cyprus and at the Vatican. At the Catholic Mass Oct. 17, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and head of the Catholic delegation, "stressed that the spirit of humility and love should prevail in the work" of the commission. Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, host of the meeting, presided over the Orthodox Divine Liturgy Oct. 18. He said all the Orthodox churches are committed … [Read more...]

Reunion with Orthodox next?

Clebrating inclusivity

To answer the question in the title, probably not. Still, the article, written from the Roman point of view, is worth a read. Father Rutler discusses Vatican's Anglican provision Fr. George Rutler, a convert from Anglicanism, was asked by the Catholic News Agency on October 20 what his reaction is to the Vatican's new Anglican provision. Fr. Rutler's reply follows. It is a dramatic slap-down of liberal Anglicanism and a total repudiation of the ordination of women, homosexual marriage and the general neglect of doctrine in Anglicanism. Indeed, it is a final rejection of Anglicanism. It basically interprets Anglicanism as a spiritual patrimony based on ethnic tradition rather than substantial doctrine and makes clear that it is not a historic "church" but rather an "ecclesial community” that strayed and now is invited to return to communion with the Pope as Successor of Peter. The Vatican was careful to schedule simultaneously with the Vatican announcement, a press … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Calls on Roman Catholics to Join Ecumenical Group

Quote from the story: Bartholomeos warned that the failure of churches in Europe to match their statements about unity with specific actions calls into question their credibility. The Charta Oecumenica (cited below) makes a case for Christian unity. Did its authors have the American Orthodox in mind, as well? Probably not. Sample: Various forms of ecumenical co-operation have already proved themselves. Christ's prayer is: "...that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:21). If we are to be faithful to this prayer, we cannot be content with the present situation. Instead, aware of our guilt and ready to repent, we must strive to overcome the divisions still existing among us, so that together we may credibly proclaim the message of the Gospel among all people. Article follows: Lyon, France (Ecumenical News International) -- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos … [Read more...]