Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Despite objections Russian Orthodox Church to take possession of former Roman Catholic Church

Moscow, November 16, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate urges Catholics to give an unbiased opinion of transferring the former Catholic Church to the Russian Orthodox Church.

"First of all, I would like to assure everyone that the decision made by the regional Duma deputies (to transfer this and several other buildings to the Orthodox Church - IF) should not be in any way viewed as a hostile effort by the Kaliningrad Diocese," Dimitry Sizonenko, an acting secretary for inter-Christian relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, told Interfax-Religion.

He denies the allegations of Archbishop Paolo Pezzi who earlier stated this draft law had been "insidiously lobbied".

According to Father Dimitry, some publications about the Russian Church laying claim on the building have been posted in Internet as far back as few months ago.

"It was no secret. Addressing the issue of the building transfer, the regional administration made it a condition that the philharmonic hall continued its work without charge. Thus, the final decision was made in favour of the bidder who met this quite reasonable requirement," Fr. Dimitry said.

He also denies any assumptions that the decision to transfer the former Catholic church to the Orthodox Church has shown disrespect for the lawful rights of the Catholic believers - the descendants of the postwar migrants who had arrived to Kaliningrad from across the Soviet Union.

"It should be remembered that the legal owners of Holy Family Church have left the city for good when it was included within the USSR. The postwar migrants, therefore, have no direct interest in this building," Fr. Dimitry stated.

He recalled that the building was neglected for many years, and "it is quite evident" that the Catholic descendants of those migrants were not the only ones who had done the renovation started in early 1970s by the head of the city council. The building was renovated to open the organ hall by a joint effort of all citizens and now it is their "common heritage".

According to Fr. Dimitry, "the way the Catholic Church treats this challenge today reveals many contradictions inherent to the Russian Catholic Church," and Catholics "unreasonably position themselves in this dispute as a religious minority." However, they make their statements on behalf of the Church which counts more than a billion believers globally.

Fr. Dimitry is convinced that it is possible to come up with a reasonable solution, because "the Russian Orthodox Church has always tried to decide such delicate matters in a way suitable for all."

This is not right. If the reverse were happening the Orthodox Church would (rightly) be raising cain over it.


Matthew the Curmudgeon said...

More and more I cringe at what the Orthodox are doing to Catholics in Church property matters.
Looking Rome-ward once more, after the Anglican Ordinariate is established.
The true church would not act this way under any circumstances.
Father, forgive them - they know not what they do!

John (Ad Orientem) said...

The true church would not act this way under any circumstances.

So your response is to move to the church that gave the world the Inquisition? There may be reasonable motives for moving to Rome and or rejecting Orthodoxy. That is not one.

Anonymous said...

Matthew, you need to do a little reading up on history: this is hardly a one sided issue and the Orthodox behavior has a long road to go before it catches up with Rome.

This particular case is so marginal as to be a non-story in Orthodox-Catholic relations.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how many Catholics there are currently in Kaliningrad?

Igumen Gregory said...

Churches, while very important to the liturgical life of People of God, nevertheless are made of brick and mortar. May we learn from our past grievances and be more compassionate with one another in the Love of Christ. Let us not forget that we share a 1000 year history, and that our present division strikes at the heart of the Most Blessed Trinity, the Source of all Love/

Alex said...

Matthew, I'm a traditionalist Catholic, and I have to say your comment is very unfair. The Church is both a divine and a human institution. Her human element has always been prone to falter. We don't judge the holiness or orthodoxy of the Roman Catholic Church based on the holiness or orthodox of Pope John XII. Neither should we judge the Orthodox Church based solely on the actions of her members.