August 21, 2014

Norm of faith as norm of life

This essay is outstanding. It represents the quality of thought that should be coming from all Orthodox Churches; the words that speak to the foundational questions of culture as I wrote yesterday. Frankly, the Orthodox in America are capable of contributions of this depth and importance. I have my doubts however, that Constantinople will ever achieve this level of creative engagement with the culture. I wish it were different but I have not seen any evidence that it is. +++++++++++++++++++ by Kirill I, patriarch of Moscow and all Russia A religious way of life – in our case, a Christian-Orthodox way of life – is distinguished by its foundation in the tradition of the Church. Tradition presents itself to us as a collection of truths that by means of the witness of the holy apostles were accepted by the Church, are preserved by her, and are developed in relation to the challenged posed to the Church in the various historical periods. In short, tradition is the vital flow of the … [Read more...]

A Holy Alliance between Rome and Moscow Is Born

Pope Benedict meets Abp. Hilarion in Rome

Again, almost incomprehensible just a few short years ago. Highlight: "The common objective: the "new evangelization" of Europe. A delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church visits the Vatican, which publishes an anthology of the patriarch's writings. A meeting between Kirill and Benedict XVI keeps getting closer." by Sandro Magister Chiesa Espresso ROME, May 24, 2010 – Benedict XVI will soon create a new "pontifical council" expressly dedicated to the "new evangelization." Not for mission countries where the congregation "de propaganda fide" is already at work. But for the countries of ancient Christian tradition that are today in danger of losing the faith. Pope Joseph Ratzinger wants to link his pontificate to this initiative. And this was the main topic that he discussed one morning in the spring of 2009, at Castel Gandolfo, with four prominent cardinals he had called for consultation: Camillo Ruini, Angelo Bagnasco, Christoph Schönborn, and Angelo Scola, the last being … [Read more...]

Vatican Hosts Russian Concert

Pope Benedict at Russian Concert

Pope John-Paul II, long before the fall of Communism said that the spiritual renewal of Western Europe would come from Russia. These were prophetic words as it turns out, but at the time many culture watchers thought they were the idealistic ramblings of a dreamer. Who would have thought just a few short decades ago the brutal tyranny of Communism would fall, collapsing under its own soul-stultifying weight? Who would have thought that the Russian Orthodox Church would emerge not only as the preserver of the culture of Christendom but also its guarantor as increasingly seems to be the case? This history may emerge as all the great narratives of martyrdom do: The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church and, now, two thousand years later, the Church becomes the protector of humane culture. +++++++++++++ CNEWA (See Met. Hilarion's comments.) VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The gentle notes of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” wafted through the Vatican audience hall and carried with … [Read more...]

‘We have reached consensus on the autocephaly procedure’

As the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission for the agenda of a Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church continues its work, the issue of granting autocephaly and the diptych order has come up to its attention in the period of 2009-2010. The leader of the Russian Orthodox delegation at the Preparatory Commission meetings, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, expounds the work of the Commission in an interview to the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, S. V. Chapnin. - Your Eminence, the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory commission’s decisions on the procedure of granting autocephaly, adopted in December 2009 in Chambesy, make it possible to speak about a serious step made in the development of inter-Orthodox cooperation. How different were the initial positions of the Churches, and can one say that the search for consensus was difficult? - According to the resolution of … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox Church accuses Europe of dual standards in freedom of expression


H/T: OBL News Moscow, May 5, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate is concerned by the fact that the freedom of expression in Europe often does not apply to religious communities. "In the Western world today there is often the freedom to criticize any religious view, but at the same time tough censorship of religious symbols and religious approaches," Deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Hegumen Philipp (Ryabykh) has told Interfax-Religion. That was his comment on the statement by Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland that the criticism of religions, "their myths and ideas" meet the European norms of democracy. … [Read more...]

Dialogue on Katyn Massacre between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches

This is a compelling interview, although the promise towards reconciliation it offered may be delayed, or worse, cut short, with the terrible airplane crash of Polish dignitaries near Moscow yesterday. They were flying to Russia to commemorate the Katyn Massacre (called "tragedy" below), and, if the interview below is accurate, look for some common ground to heal this grave wound of historical memory. I can't help but think that an event of great promise has been lost. Certainly the crash is catastrophic for Poland, and the lost opportunity may be a grave loss for the rest of Europe. An Orthodox bishop was one of the fatalities. ++++++++++++++++ ‘The task of the Russian Orthodox Church’s dialogue with the Catholic Church in Poland is to rise above political conjuncture’. Interview of DECR vice-chairman Hegumen Philip Riabykh with Blagovest-infor news agency. Father Philip, on April 7 Russia and Poland will mark the sorrowful date, the 70th anniversary of the Katyn tragedy. … [Read more...]

The Passions in Orthodox perception are deeply imbued with the theme of the Resurrection and radiant Paschal joy


This is a good interview in its own right. Note that the title attributed to Constantinople is "First Bishop of the Orthodox Church." Note too the overall sobriety in Met. Hilarion's tone. Metropolitan Hilarion’s interview to the church news portal. - Your Eminence, I would like to begin with a question about your oratorio which has been recently performed in the church of Agia Irini in Constantinople in the presence of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It is based on the story in the Gospel of St. Matthews about the last days of Jesus Christ on earth. Tell us a few words about the oratorio which has been met with such a great response throughout the Orthodox world. - The genre of ‘Passions’ so popular in the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches is not customary for the Orthodox culture. The most famous work in this genre is St. Matthews Passions by Johann Sebastian Bach. There were also other works on this theme but they all came from the Western culture. In the … [Read more...]

Paschal Message of His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia

Paschal Message of His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia to the Archpastors, Pastors, Monastics and All Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church Print This Post 3.04.2010 · Passover My dear co-brothers the archpastors, all-honourable fathers presbyters, God-loving deacons, pious monks and nuns, brothers and sisters! On the radiant and world-saving feast of the Lord’s Resurrection I am glad in my heart to greet you with the inspired and unchanging great words of the Paschal good news: CHRIST IS RISEN! On this light-bearing night we abide in a life-affirming common exultation, for the event, which took place many centuries ago near Jerusalem of old, bears a direct relation to each one of us. Moreover, Christ’s Resurrection possesses a truly universal meaning, for through it the Saviour bestowed the chance of obtaining gracious unity with God to each person who responds to his call: ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for … [Read more...]

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s statement on terrorist acts at the Moscow Metro

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia made the following statement on the terrorist acts at the Moscow Metro on 29 March 2010. My heart pains over the terrorist acts at the Moscow Metro this morning. I am praying for the rest of the victims’ souls, for consolation of their near and dear, and for the soonest recovery of the wounded. I beseech the Lord to help the rescuers, medical workers, and all who are trying to alleviate the consequences. I have instructed clergymen to visit the injured persons in hospitals. Unfortunately, this terrorist act is not the first committed in Russia in recent months. We see clearly that peril is lying in wait for all of us at any minute. However, we should not respond to it by fear, panic, or animosity. Let our response by the unity of our people, their strong will to stop the terrorists and those who support, finance, or justify them. God’ retribution will come to them. I believe that human justice will not be a long time … [Read more...]

Russia brings music to Constantinople on “The Three Romes” tour

They also performed at Agia Irene (St. Irene) Church Museum. (From the Russian National Orchestra website.) ++++++++++ Orthodox and Catholic churches unite with music TV-Novosti Russian spiritual music was ringing out in Istanbul last night as part of a major international project aimed at uniting the main centers of Christian culture. The project is the brainchild of the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. The performance of the Moscow Synod Choir was the second stop of its “Three Romes” tour. It kicked of in Moscow on Thursday and will end with a concert in the Vatican in May, bringing together the leaders of the Orthodox and Catholic churches. The choir is performing The St Mathew Passion, a piece based on an evangelical text, which aims to celebrate common Christian heritage. … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk: Culture is at risk of becoming anti-culture without the Church

Metropolitan Hilarion

Brilliant! Met. Hilarion's warning deals with what Nietzsche called the "transvaluation of values" -- what his dark prophesy warned would happen in the West because "God is Dead," by which he meant that Western culture was entering into a period where it functioned within the cultural structures shaped by Christianity but without concrete, existential communion with the Savior -- the kind of communion that would lead to martyrdom if required. Those structures would weaken as the historical memory of Christianity grew increasingly dim from one generation to the next. That is the period we are in today, call it secularism, but understand that secularism is just a layover from one city to the next. We have left the City of God (recalling Augustine) for what -- Islamic domination? Perhaps. Man cannot live by bread alone, and that includes the secularist as well as the believer. Met. Hilarion calls for nothing less than the spiritual transformation of culture. His clarity comes from … [Read more...]

More to the Ecumenical Patriarch’s recent encyclical than meets the eye

Pat. Bartholomew and Pope Benedict in Rome

As I mentioned last week, I recently became a columnist for Catholic Online. They just posted my latest piece. (They are fast. I submitted it just this afternoon.) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Last week Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew released an encyclical castigating what he called Orthodox “fanatics” who object to Orthodox ecumenical involvement. The encyclical was well received in Christian circles outside of the Orthodox Church, but raised eyebrows among those in the fold, not least for the strength of the language. Here’s the background. The Orthodox Church is emerging out of a period of active persecution that lasted centuries for the Greeks and a generation for the Russians and other Eastern Europeans. Orthodoxy still flourishes in the Middle East although under considerable Muslim pressure. It is growing in Africa, Indonesia (where an indigenous Orthodox Church was started by several Moslem converts), America, Western Europe, and elsewhere in the world. Two … [Read more...]