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, faced to Russia’s history of enforced atheism.
Nonetheless, Father Vyzhanov said, “the Russian people did not lose their faith,” although the communist regime tried to take it away.
He added that in the communist era, “the faith was hidden, not dead, and after the changes in our country many people converted to the faith.”
Now, the priest added, the principal challenge is to help people deepen in this faith, a project in which there is a “great future” for collaboration with the Catholic Church.