August 28, 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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

Archbishop Hilarion to visit Vatican soon

Met. Hilarion

Moscow, September 9, Interfax – Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk is going on a working visit to Vatican to discuss issues connected with dialogue between the two Churches. He told it at his meeting with Dominican Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso in Moscow. According to the Archbishop, today the Moscow Patriarchate has set out “good relations” with the Roman Catholic Church, which have been particularly improved in recent years under Pope Benedict XVI of Rome. “We have frank and rather efficient dialogue and its objective is to present Christian vision to our present world and give answers to the questions raised by today’s reality,” the DECR head said. HT: Byzantine Texas. … [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...]

Benedict to Bartholomew: Called to ‘One Hope’

The Zenit news agency published the translation of Pope Benedict XVI's address to the delegation the Ecumenical Patriarchate sent to the Vatican for the celebration of "the solemnity" of Sts. Peter and Paul and the conclusion of the Pauline Year. The patriarchate's delegation was led by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, director of the Office of the Orthodox Church Before the European Union. The other members include Bishop Anthenagoras of Sinope, auxiliary bishop of the Patriarchate of Belgium, and Deacon Ioakim Billis of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Pope Benedict: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Epehesians 1:2). Venerable Brothers, It is with these words that St. Paul, "apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God," addresses "the saints" who live in Ephesus, "believers in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:1). Today, with this proclamation of peace and salvation, I bid you welcome for the patronal feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, … [Read more...]

Renewing Christian Roots

From the Catholic news service Zenit, which strained a bit for a news angle with this headline: Orthodox Priest Says Faith Is Not Dead in Russia PAMPLONA, Spain, MAY 28, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Moscow Patriarchate's secretary for ecumenical relations is affirming that relations between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church in Russia are progressing, and that it is an important step for evangelizing the world. In an address at the University of Navarra in Spain, Father Igor Vyzhanov stated that the two Churches "seem to understand each other better now than before." His conference titled "Relations Between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church: The Current Situation" noted signs of the Churches' collaboration. The priest affirmed a shared responsibility of Orthodox and Catholics to "renew the Christian roots of Europe" and to preach the message of Christ to the world. He explained the challenges of the Orthodox Church in the task of evangelization, … [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...]

Metropolitan Kirill on Economic Globalization

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the President of the Department of Foreign Religious Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate, has written a prologue or introduction to “The Ethics of the Common Good in Catholic Social Doctrine” (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2008) by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State. The article by Metropolitan Kirill was translated from the Italian and into English for the first time by Paola Fantini, an intern in the Rome office of the Acton Institute. Considering the Orthodox concept of the common good, it must be noted that this concept refers not only to material well-being, not only to peace and harmony on earth, but most of all to the aspirations of man and human society to eternal life, which is the ultimate good of every Christian. For this reason, according to the Orthodox conscience, the debate on the common good will always be incomplete if it considers earthly life exclusively, while the highest good – life in … [Read more...]