August 1, 2014

Met. Hilarion of Volokolamsk: Church and State in Russia

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Met. Hilarion of Volokolamsk is the Chairman of the of the Department for External Church Relations Moscow Patriarchate. Key quote: "We remain strongly convinced that the secular nature of the state does not presuppose the ousting of the Church from the public space or her marginalization and placement in a “ghetto”. The Russian Orthodox Church is not only a social institution that has played a tremendous historical role in the development of Russian statehood and formation of the Russian people’s Christian spirit, but also an important part of the modern civil society. By virtue of this fact the Church has a right to expect that her voice is heard. And now, at a time of relative wellbeing of the Church, relevant are the words of St. Tikhon, the Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, who said not long before his death, “Looking at the future ways of holy Orthodoxy without fear, we call upon you, our beloved children, do God’s cause and may the sons … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox Church Canonizes New Martyr Who Died at the Hands of the Nazis

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- Source: Orthodox Cognate The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has canonized Russian national Alexander Schmorell, a native of Orenburg, who was executed by the Nazi regime in 1943 for organizing an anti-fascist student group called the White Rose, the Church Bulletin publication reported. The ceremony to glorify St. Alexander of Munich, who was 25 yeas old when he died, ended in Germany this past weekend. He became the first new martyr glorified after canonical communion between the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) was restored in 2007 following 80 years of separation. [...] Schmorell, born in 1917, was the son of a German who moved to Russia in the 19th century. His mother was the daughter of an Orthodox Christian priest. In 1921 the family decided to return to Germany and moved to Munich, where Schmorell became a parishioner of a Russian Orthodox church. After returning from the front in 1942 following … [Read more...]

Patriarch Urges Russia’s Government To ‘Listen’ And ‘Correct The Course’

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (left) with President Dmitry Medvedev at the Church of Our Lady's Nativity in the Kremlin

Much political and social analysis in America about the Russian Orthodox Church tends to view Russia through the lens of the Cold War. Russia remains an enemy to American interests and the Russian Orthodox Church is merely a vassal to the Russian State that sanctifies, as it were, state policies that are inimical to American ideals, including freedom of religion. It's a peculiar analysis that is more concerned about maintaining neo-conservative ideas about the relationship of the state to civic values (as opposed to the conservative ideas of thinkers like Russell Kirk and others) that sheds little light on either Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church, or the relationship between religion and culture. The brief report below on the warning from Patriarch Kyrill to the leadership of the Russian State reveals that the neo-con assumption about the subservience of the Russian Church to the State is wrong. Source: Radio Free Europe The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has used a … [Read more...]

ROC: Bin Laden Killing Reason to Step up Fight Against Terrorism, No Cause for Joy

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Source: Interfax | May 3, 2011 The elimination of the 'number one terrorist' does not solve the terror problem, said Archpriest Georgy Roschin, deputy head of the Russian Orthodox Church Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations. "The Russian Orthodox Church will not welcome the jubilation that we have seen in some countries. Whoever is caught by death, be they the greatest evil or terrorist, they will be judged by God only," Father Georgy told Interfax-Religion. Instead, he urged believers "to continue to improve themselves so as to make a phenomenon such as terrorism, linked to the name of Osama bin Laden, disappear from our life." "I think the death of one terrorist, even if he is the number one terrorist, will not solve the entire problem. The problem remains, and the main thing here is to make the right decisions and to celebrate the achievements that will be aimed at solving the problem in general and not at the elimination of one member of a terrorist … [Read more...]

Met. Hilarion Confident Pan-Orthodox Synod will Resume in “Near Future”

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Source: Russian Orthodox Church Department for External Church Relations Your Eminence! You have recently led a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church at the meeting of the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission held in Chambesy near Geneva. Which questions did you discuss? The Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission is a working body which prepares the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. It elaborates items included in the Council’s agenda. The catalogue of the items was compiled in 1976 and includes ten topics demanding the elaboration of common position of the Orthodox Church. According to the regulation, proposals made by the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission are to be approved by the Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference. The major part of the mentioned catalogue has been elaborated in the last decades, while in 2009 the Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference approved the decisions on the ordering of cooperation among the Churches in Orthodox diaspora. That … [Read more...]

Met. Hilarion: An Alliance of Faith (Orthodox – Catholic Cooperation)

Pope Benedict meets Abp. Hilarion in Rome

Highlight: Our challenges "...are first and foremost the challenges of a godless world, which is equally hostile today to Orthodox believers and Catholics, the challenge of the aggressive Islamic movement, the challenge of moral corruption, family decay, the abandonment by many people in traditionally Christian countries of the traditional family structure, liberalism in theology and morals, which is eroding the Christian community from within. We can respond to these, and a number of other challenges, together." "The idea of a strategic alliance with the Catholics– is an old idea of mine. It came to me when the Catholics were electing the new Pope. Although I would like to point out that what I am suggesting is, in essence, the direct opposite of Uniatism, which is a way toward a rapprochement based on doctrinal compromises. In our point of view, the policy of Uniatism had suffered complete failure. Not only did it not bring the Orthodox Christians and Catholics closer together, … [Read more...]

Remarks of Patriarch Kirill on Seminarians

Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow

Source: Preachers Institute and Mystagogy. This is a topic that the American Orthodox Church (all jurisdictions) needs to resolve. Below is a small portion from Patriarch Kirill’s report presented before an assembly of rectors of Russian Orthodox theological schools. We constantly speak about obedience in our theological schools. But does not this mask a desire to obtain totally obedient and intimidated individuals incapable of speaking up before authorities under any circumstances? Do we not, along with obedience, inoculate them to act like toadies and cow-towing hypocrites? Can such a person be a spiritually unimpeded and a responsible pastor, a true leader of their flock? We both know too well that often, behind a noble external facade, there lurks hypocrisy, pretense and cynicism. I am now reading some of your reports asking about canonical procedures for coping with certain clerics. I also read correspondence from the laity. I sometimes wonder what kind of priests … [Read more...]

WRR Dallas: Interview with Met. Hilarion, Meets Former President George Bush

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WRR Classical 101.1 in Dallas interviewed Met. Hilarion the afternoon before his concert. In the interview he discusses how he composes the music, his 20 year hiatus from composition, and more. It's an engaging interview that reveals some of the personal side of Met. Hilarion. Earlier that day Met. Hilarion met with former President George Bush. Source: mospat.ru. HT: Byzantine, TX. On the morning of February 11th a meeting of Metropolitan Hilarion and former U.S. President George W. Bush was held. They spoke for over an hour. The two sides exchanged views on a wide range of issues. In particular, the DECR chairman shared his vision for the inter-Christian dialogue, stressing the need to work together representatives of different Christian denominations in the preservation of traditional moral values. To commemorate the meeting the chairman of the DECR gave former President George Bush his book "Orthodox Christianity: The History and Canonical Structure" in English and a … [Read more...]

ROC Issues Stricter Rules for Celibate Clergy

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Source: Interfax 3 February 2011 The MP Archpastoral Council, at its present session in Moscow, found it necessary to limit the practise of ordaining young celibate men to the clerical state. In a special resolution published on Thursday, the bishops resolved, "We regard the practise of ordaining celibate men not in monastic orders, especially those not previously married, as not being according to the usual norms". Having considered the matter, and taking into account the decisions made by the all-Russian Council of 1918 and the MP Holy Synod in January 1931, the bishops decreed that the ordination of celibate men not in monastic orders shouldn't occur before the candidate reaches the age of 30, and "only after the ordaining bishop conducts a thorough examination of him". A celibate candidate for ordination not in the monastic state must first complete their seminary, academic, or other higher theological education. If he takes external courses not in residence, he … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk: Allegations about a ‘breakthrough’ in Orthodox-Catholic dialogue are untrue

See my notes in the post immediately preceding this one. Source: As has been stressed by the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the working document of the Joint International Commission for Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue, publicized so widely by some media, does not reflect the attitude of the Orthodox side to the problem of primacy of the bishop of Rome and can be viewed only as a purely auxiliary paper for further work. Contrary to allegations in the press, the Orthodox-Catholic Commission meeting in Vienna has made no ‘breakthrough’ whatsoever. The entire meeting was devoted to a discussion on the role of the bishop of Rome in the first millennium. The Commission’s coordinating committee had drafted a document on this issue, which was discussed last year in Cyprus. A rough draft of this document ‘leaked’ into the mass media and was published. … [Read more...]

Met. Hilarion: Our concern is to preserve and consolidate unity of Russian Orthodox Church

On July 17, 2010, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, speaking in Church and World talk show, answered questions from anchorman Ivan Semenov concerning the work of the DECR as a church external policy department. - Does an Orthodox Christian in his everyday life ever encounter the work of the DECR and fruits of your efforts? - Of course, they do, especially those who live in the far-abroad countries and some neighbouring countries. Take for instance relations between the Orthodox and the Catholics or between the Orthodox and the Protestants. These are not only relations existing on official level. Many Orthodox believers live in countries with the predominant Catholic Church or in the countries where most people confess Protestantism. It means there are mixed marriages, communication at work places with people of other faiths or other Christian confessions. We do not live in a world where we are … [Read more...]

Moscow 1, Constantinople 0

This is the Church in which Constantinople interfered, to the consternation of the Russian Orthodox Church. Looks like a retreat. HT: International Orthodox Christian News Patriarch Bartholomew urged Ukrainian dissenters to join the Orthodox Church Strelna, May 31, Interfax – Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople urged Ukrainian dissenters to repent and join the canonic Orthodox Church. “Let them (dissenters – IF) not hesitate, but join the canonic Orthodox Church which is a ship of salvation,” Patriarch Bartholomew said in an interview to Vesti 24 TV which was recorded Sunday in the Constantinovsky Palace in Strelna near St. Petersburg. He noted that speaking with Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and all Ukraine he wished him that “he be honoured by God to see the solution to this problem while alive, and that the schism ceased to exist.” “Our Church does everything with due respect to the existing canonic order (in Ukraine – IF),” Patriarch Bartholomew commented … [Read more...]