Thursday, March 17, 2011

Patriarch Kirill, Cardinal Koch speak about Catholic-Orthodox partnership

Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, met on March 16 with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.

Neither the Vatican nor the Russian Orthodox Church released a detailed report on the meeting, which was held in Moscow. But the Orthodox patriarchate indicated that Kirill had stressed his support for Pope Benedict in the effort to combat secularization, particularly in Europe. The Russian prelate also commented on the positive trend in relations between Rome and Moscow.

Cardinal Koch was visiting Moscow for the first time since his appointment as the Vatican’s chief ecumenist. Prior to his meeting with Patriarch Kirill, he had spoken earlier in the week with Metropolitan Hilarion, his counterpart as ecumenical-affairs officer for the Moscow patriarchate.


George Patsourakos said...

It appears that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church are working diligently to achieve Orthodox-Catholic unity.

I expect Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Benedict XVI to meet later this year, with the goal of achieving Orthodox-Catholic unity.

Michael said...

Hi, George;

See John's earlier post on that subject:

I agree with John on this one.

sjgmore said...

I consider it charming and even perhaps somewhat useful that people consider Orthodox and Catholic unity to be imminent - and I say "useful" because it's clear that Catholics and Orthodox almost entirely lack much of the animosity that once characterized much of their relations with each other - but it's ultimately pretty naive.

Even setting aside the deep rifts between the two that cause barriers to unity, the internal problems alone would prevent any meaningful unity. In America alone we see some of the greatest disunity among Orthodox groups that are all ostensibly supposed to be "on each other's side". And among much of the Catholic mainstream it's considered downright seditious simply to want to hear a Latin mass.

That being said, it is still quite heartening to see that the Patriarch of Moscow and the Bishop of Rome appear to be serious about creating some kind of "common witness" that may ultimately lay the groundwork for a more serious expression of unity in the generations to come.

May the greater relationship between Rome and Moscow be more than a fleeting, gimmicky ecumenical project that stagnates and disappears after a few decades.

Igumen Gregory said...

I might add that on the Roman Catholic side, while organizational unity may exist, the splintered theological notions and liturgical practices betray an even deeper lack of organic unity. You are right. We both have our own homework. However, let us be encouraged by the new spirit of common exchange opening up between Rome and Moscow.

James the Thickheaded said...

I wonder whether it might be helpful to consider "imminent" unity in the same way we consider the 2nd Coming as "soon". Maybe these aren't strictly speaking the same... but maybe they aren't strictly different either. And both may be constructive if we take them seriously, or an excuse for cynicism if we don't.

Muiris said...

This is all about Bishops and Prelates hobnobbing with each other and has nothing to do with the ordinary faithful people in the Church. I am Orthodox and I would never receive communion in a Roman Catholic Church because I cannot believe that the Pope is infallible, nor can I ever accept that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son - a teaching which is contrary to the words of Christ in the Gospels.