Every second Saturday of the month, 4 pm - Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
Next Liturgy: Zacchaeus Sunday - Saturday 13th February, 4pm.
To purchase The Divine Liturgy: an Anthology for Worship (in English), order from the Sheptytsky Institute here.
To purchase the Divine Praises, the Divine Office of the Byzantine-Slav rite (in English), order from the Eparchy of Parma here.
Saturday, 13 February 2016
"The inability to get any kind of reference in the joint statement to foreign aggression in Ukraine is a major flaw in an otherwise decent statement - Ukrainians worldwide will be very disappointed. And Antonii Pakanych's (metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate) prominence in the Moscow Patriarchate delegation without anyone even remotely representative of Eastern Catholicism (not to mention Ukrainian Greek Catholicism) is also very unfortunate."
On February 5 Rev Galadza signed a statement of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies Regarding the Meeting of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Cuba
Report from RISU here:
Rev Peter Galadza on joint Francis-Kirill statement: Ukrainians worldwide will be very disappointed
Friday, 12 February 2016
1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.
It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2 Jn 12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.
2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.
It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way. The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.
3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).
4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate. Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.
5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17:21).
6. Mindful of the permanence of many obstacles, it is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!
7. In our determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited, we wish to combine our efforts to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world. Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimously witness in those spheres in which this is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change. Our Christian conscience and our pastoral responsibility compel us not to remain passive in the face of challenges requiring a shared response.
8. Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed. It is with pain that we call to mind the situation in Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East, and the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.
9. We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East. In raising our voice in defence of persecuted Christians, we wish to express our compassion for the suffering experienced by the faithful of other religious traditions who have also become victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.
10. Thousands of victims have already been claimed in the violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other millions without a home or means of sustenance. We urge the international community to seek an end to the violence and terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through dialogue to a swift return to civil peace. Large–scale humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many refugees seeking safety in neighbouring lands.
We call upon all those whose influence can be brought to bear upon the destiny of those kidnapped, including the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul and John Ibrahim, who were taken in April 2013, to make every effort to ensure their prompt liberation.
11. We lift our prayers to Christ, the Saviour of the world, asking for the return of peace in the Middle East, “the fruit of justice” (Is 32:17), so that fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions may be strengthened, enabling refugees to return to their homes, wounds to be healed, and the souls of the slain innocent to rest in peace.
We address, in a fervent appeal, all the parts that may be involved in the conflicts to demonstrate good will and to take part in the negotiating table. At the same time, the international community must undertake every possible effort to end terrorism through common, joint and coordinated action. We call on all the countries involved in the struggle against terrorism to responsible and prudent action. We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war. In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
12. We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians. It is to you who suffer for Christ’s sake that the word of the Apostle is directed: “Beloved … rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1 Pet 4:12–13).
13. Interreligious dialogue is indispensable in our disturbing times. Differences in the understanding of religious truths must not impede people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In our current context, religious leaders have the particular responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions. Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable. No crime may be committed in God’s name, “since God is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor 14:33).
14. In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes. Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith. Thousands of new churches have been built over the last quarter of a century, as well as hundreds of monasteries and theological institutions. Christian communities undertake notable works in the fields of charitable aid and social development, providing diversified forms of assistance to the needy. Orthodox and Catholics often work side by side. Giving witness to the values of the Gospel they attest to the existence of the shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.
15. At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them. In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom. It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.
16. The process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was welcomed by many with hope, as a guarantee of peace and security. Nonetheless, we invite vigilance against an integration that is devoid of respect for religious identities. While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.
17. Our gaze is also directed to those facing serious difficulties, who live in extreme need and poverty while the material wealth of humanity increases. We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations. The unrelenting consumerism of some more developed countries is gradually depleting the resources of our planet. The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.
18. The Christian churches are called to defend the demands of justice, the respect for peoples’ traditions, and an authentic solidarity towards all those who suffer. We Christians cannot forget that “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, that no human being might boast before God” (1 Cor 1:27–29).
19. The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.
20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.
21. We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf. Gen 4:10).
The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.
We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.
22. Today, in a particular way, we address young Christians. You, young people, have the task of not hiding your talent in the ground (cf. Mt 25:25), but of using all the abilities God has given you to confirm Christ’s truth in the world, incarnating in your own lives the evangelical commandments of the love of God and of one’s neighbour. Do not be afraid of going against the current, defending God’s truth, to which contemporary secular norms are often far from conforming.
23. God loves each of you and expects you to be His disciples and apostles. Be the light of the world so that those around you may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:14, 16). Raise your children in the Christian faith, transmitting to them the pearl of great price that is the faith (cf. Mt 13:46) you have received from your parents and forbears. Remember that “you have been purchased at a great price” (1 Cor 6:20), at the cost of the death on the cross of the Man–God Jesus Christ.
24. Orthodox and Catholics are united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium, but also by the mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in the world today. This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism.
We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be “in harmony with one another” (Rm 15:5). Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions. We are called upon to put into practice the precept of the apostle Paul: “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another's foundation” (Rm 15:20).
25. It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of “uniatism”, understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re–establish unity. Nonetheless, the ecclesial communities which emerged in these historical circumstances have the right to exist and to undertake all that is necessary to meet the spiritual needs of their faithful, while seeking to live in peace with their neighbours. Orthodox and Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co–existence.
26. We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict.
27. It is our hope that the schism between the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine may be overcome through existing canonical norms, that all the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine may live in peace and harmony, and that the Catholic communities in the country may contribute to this, in such a way that our Christian brotherhood may become increasingly evident.
28. In the contemporary world, which is both multiform yet united by a shared destiny, Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to testify together to the moral dignity and authentic freedom of the person, “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). This world, in which the spiritual pillars of human existence are progressively disappearing, awaits from us a compelling Christian witness in all spheres of personal and social life. Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.
29. May our bold witness to God’s truth and to the Good News of salvation be sustained by the Man–God Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who strengthens us with the unfailing promise: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32)!
Christ is the well–spring of joy and hope. Faith in Him transfigures human life, fills it with meaning. This is the conviction borne of the experience of all those to whom Peter refers in his words: “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet 2:10).
Bishop of Rome, Pope of the Catholic Church Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia
Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill - Vatican Radio
The Orthodox Church is not usually associated with rapid change and fast-moving news stories. Its image is more usually one of immobile customs, ancient rituals and an unshakeable attachment to tradition. Of no Orthodox body is this more true than of the Russian Orthodox Church, sometimes styled as the “Third Rome” and seen by many as the solid repository of the ecclesiastical polity and political culture of the Byzantine Empire.
The past week, however, has seen news stories developing with unaccustomed speed. First, news came out that plans to hold the “Great and Holy Council” of the world’s Orthodox churches in Istanbul had been abandoned in favour of a venue in Crete. This was to accommodate the Moscow Patriarchate’s reluctance to hold it in Turkey, now locked in geopolitical conflict with Putin’s Russia.
Then came another bombshell. The Moscow Patriarchate confirmed that a meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis, which veteran Italian Vaticanologist Sandro Magister had announced the previous week – only to provoke a denial from sources linked to the Patriarchate – was actually to take place after all.
With hindsight, the denials should have been treated as suspect from the start. When politicians say “there are currently no plans”, we all know that the planning process must be well advanced, and the Moscow Patriarchate is a very politically savvy entity. It has to be; it has been a hostage to political fortunes since its origin.
Headlines spoke of a “historic first meeting between Catholic and Orthodox since 1054”. There has indeed been no meeting of a pope with a Moscow patriarch since that date, when relations between Rome and Constantinople were severed, but there was no such encounter before it either. This is not only because popes and patriarchs of the first millennium were not in the habit of making long and arduous journeys to meet each other, but also because the Moscow patriarchate was yet to exist.
The Slavs were first evangelised in the 9th century by Saints Cyril and Methodius. It took another century for the new faith to become established in what is now Ukraine and Russia, symbolised by the baptism of Kievan Rus in 988. The spiritual heritage of that event is hotly disputed today between Russia and Ukraine. Political fragmentation, as well as Mongol and Tartar invasions, pushed the political centre eastward to Moscow, and gradually Kievan Rus was overtaken and eventually absorbed by what became the Russian Empire.
Moscow became pre-eminent as an ecclesiastical centre, too. The Muscovite rulers were keen to establish the independence of their church from Constantinople. That keenness was bolstered by their rejection of the policy of reunion with Rome then being pursued in Byzantium, and so in 1448 a metropolitan see was created in Moscow.
It took more than a century for the Russian Church’s autocephaly to win acceptance from Constantinople. But in 1558 the metropolitan of Moscow took the title of Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus. The Fall of Constantinople to the Turks had meant that many Orthodox would henceforth look to Moscow as the “Third Rome”, the new seat of Christian empire whose resistance to union with Rome had given it added prestige as a bastion of Orthodoxy.
Russia had become an empire in 1547 when Ivan the Terrible took the title “Caesar”, or Tsar in Russian, and over the centuries the importance of the patriarchate waxed and waned with the fortunes of the state, assuming a vital authority when the rule of the tsars was weak. This was what motivated Peter the Great to suppress the institution of the patriarchate altogether in 1721, replacing it with a standing synod over which successive tsars would keep tight control through a lay procurator.
In effect, the Church was run by a civil servant as a department of state for almost two centuries. Only in 1918 did a brief window of freedom allow the restoration of the patriarchate, before a whirlwind of expropriation and persecution beat down upon the Russian Church, now seen as the enemy of the state which had so long simultaneously nurtured and contained it.
That persecution was a defining experience for the Russian Orthodox Church, which faced near extinction. The brutal repression was mitigated under Stalin – at the price of total subservience – but it definitively ended only with the fall of communism in 1990. The outgoing generation of hierarchs were men who had been obliged to combine the cultivation of the fragile flame of faith with the necessity of a more or less willing collaboration with the state security apparatus.
Kirill, who became Patriarch in 2009, has promoted a younger generation of clerics to the episcopate, probably aiming to consign this period to history. But he remembers it well, having had to negotiate its necessary compromises as a young monk and theologian before becoming an archbishop in 1984.
Kirill inherited a Church which in many ways seems flourishing, and well on the way to recovering its privileged position in pre-revolutionary Russian society. Still, the fragilities inherited from the past are never far below the surface. Although church membership has boomed since the end of communism, mass baptisms have not generally been accompanied by solid catechesis and regular religious practice. With at least 50 million members in Russia and many more in affiliated Churches worldwide, Kirill’s Church is by far the largest Orthodox body, counting perhaps 40 per cent of Orthodox believers. Yet although most Russian citizens now define themselves as Orthodox, the Church’s grip on Russian society is probably neither as deep nor as secure as statistics suggest.
This is the context within which Kirill seeks to gain for his Church both security and stability at home, and influence and prestige abroad. His decision finally to meet the Pope, a meeting fervently desired by recent pontiffs but consistently refused by previous patriarchs, is to be interpreted against this background. We may consider his objectives under these two aspects: relations with the Russian state and external relations and influence.
Kirill may seem to have a cosy relationship with the Putin regime, but this involves maintaining an equilibrium which is not always comfortable. Western, conservative Christians are sometimes superficially impressed by Putin’s desire to be seen as a protector both of Christian moral values and of persecuted Christians, in the Middle East especially. They should, however, be under no illusion that this is any more than political posturing designed to bolster the president’s popularity at home and advance his policy objectives abroad.
Kirill will want to take advantage of this policy to serve his Church’s own interests and priorities. There is little doubt that he favours good ecumenical relations personally, having promoted them since the early stages of his career in the hierarchy. In Soviet days the Russian Church was among the most ecumenically inclined of Orthodox jurisdictions, in part because this made for a better image abroad and favoured its objective of détente with the West.
When the fortunes and liberty of the Church increased after 1990, this pro-ecumenical stance experienced a marked decline. Putin, now suffering from international isolation as a result of his aggressive foreign policy and economically weakened with sanctions biting and energy dollars in short supply, is probably encouraging Kirill to seize the initiative.
At the same time, the forthcoming pan-Orthodox synod this summer is an opportunity for Kirill to present his patriarchate as the de facto leader of world Orthodoxy. To polish up the reputation of the “Third Rome” he will be trying to push Constantinople further into the shade. Hence the transfer of the synod to Crete is certainly at least as much about this as about avoiding Turkish harassment. If Kirill can be seen to take upon himself the mantle of chief Orthodox interlocutor with the papacy, he will certainly derive some satisfaction in depriving arch-rival Patriarch Bartholomew of that role.
And yet he will be simultaneously looking over his shoulder towards powerful elements within Orthodoxy, not least in Russia, who resist ecumenism on principle. Hence his repeated assurances that, while promoting warmer relations, he does not envisage actual reunion. He presents his dialogue with Catholicism as being a matter above all of seeking cooperation in defending Christian morality against secular encroachment, and defending persecuted Christians, in the Middle East especially.
Both of these, incidentally, are issues on which Pope Francis seems to prefer the softly spoken approach to war-like posturing, so it will be interesting to see what sort of common statement emerges.
One issue which is delicate for both Francis and Kirill is Ukraine. Kirill’s patriarchate has been haemorrhaging adherents, in western Ukraine especially, over its closeness to Putin’s Kremlin and to the cause of pro-Russian separatists in the eastern provinces. Overt support of pro-Russian separatists by clerics loyal to Moscow, despite Kirill’s attempts to soften the line, have led to entire parishes defecting to the rival Kiev Patriarchate. Constantinople has been forced to reject outright this new jurisdiction, and Kirill will ensure that it remains out in the cold at the Crete meeting. He will be on the lookout for anything Francis might say which he can use to bolster his interpretation that what is happening in Ukraine is a “fratricidal civil war”, rather than a Russian incursion against Kiev’s sovereignty.
Francis is no ingénue when it comes to recognising and outflanking political manipulation, but here he is navigating a minefield. Vatican officials will have briefed him intensely on the pitfalls to avoid, but his tendency to make spontaneous and not always clearly defined gestures of goodwill will mean that it will be a nerve-racking meeting for those seeking to keep Vatican diplomacy running along well-planned lines.
Others who will be watching the meeting with a degree of apprehension will be the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the largest Eastern Catholic Church. In recent years they have felt almost abandoned by the Vatican, as time after time it has cultivated the Russians by rejecting “Uniatism” (the derogatory term used by Orthodox of Eastern Catholics) as a way forward for ecumenism while affirming at the same time that the Eastern Catholics have a right to exist. Any careless words which Kirill might exploit in this way will only serve to confirm the impression of Ukrainian Greek Catholics that they are being thrown under a bus.
The meeting of the Pope and Patriarch, while certainly historic and of real symbolic importance, should not be seen as a harbinger of unity round the corner. Those who expect this to come about from high-level gatherings of hierarchs of the respective Churches probably are missing the point about what Orthodoxy is.
The Orthodox Church is hierarchical, but its hierarchs are not the Church and it does not belong to them. Catholics, used to well-defined structures where authority is seen to come from the top, are often over-optimistic not only about what Orthodox hierarchs want from ecumenism but also about what they can deliver.
Orthodoxy lives above all in its worship, in its parishes and monasteries and in the hearts of its faithful. Its saints and mystics exert an authority at least as real as its official hierarchs. Much the same, in reality, can be said of Catholicism, as Benedict XVI tried to remind us. Ecumenism between us will prosper, and with God’s help succeed, when our communities get to know each other, when prejudices are dispelled and we begin to learn deeply from each other and imitate each other’s strengths, putting the quest for holiness at the heart of our concerns.
This process has scarcely begun. Realism about the limited possibilities of the present moment, and the determination to seize them without yielding to the disappointment generated by excessive expectations, are a necessary part of it.
To read this article on line, and to hear the podcast, visit The Catholic Herald here:
CatholicHerald.co.uk » Francis is walking into a Russian minefield
|Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian|
Greek Catholic Church, met with Pope Francis in 2014. (AP)
In this essay commissioned by Crux, the Rev. Andriy Chirovsky, a Greek Catholic archpriest at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, who also serves as editor-in-chief of LOGOS, a journal of Eastern Christian studies, discusses the summit. Among his key arguments:
- Catholic/Orthodox unity is not some modern notion, since the leader of the Orthodox territory that included Russia came into union with Rome 600 years ago.
- Since all Orthodox churches are staging a grand council in June for the first time in 1,000 years, Moscow has a clear political incentive for using a platform with the pope to boost its internal standing.
- Many Russian Orthodox still have negative attitudes toward Catholics.
- The Russian Orthodox have a tight relationship with the Kremlin, and Putin’s global ambitions may help explain why the meeting is happening.
- While Pope Francis may know what he’s doing, Ukrainians have less confidence in the Vatican’s resolve.
As pope and Russian patriarch meet, Ukraine fears a ‘shaky’ Vatican – CRUX
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales welcomes the forthcoming meeting between Pope Francis and the Patriarch of Moscow
A primary objective in the pontificate of St John Paul II was the restoration of Christian unity, especially between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. His Encyclical Ut Unum Sint and his Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen both stress the vital importance to the Catholic Church of the need for unity between the Churches, and the desire for bonds that already connect the Orthodox and Catholic Churches in life and faith to be even closer, so that once again our mutual communion may be re-established in its fullness.
The 2014 visit of Pope Francis to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Constantinople, six months after their encounter in Jerusalem to mark the 50th Anniversary of the lifting of the anathemas of 1054 under Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I, has continued the friendship that has grown between Orthodox and Catholic leaders, especially in the last fifty years of cordial fraternal visits, theological dialogue to resolve our differences, and the strengthened witness to Christ side by side of Orthodox and Catholic Christians around the world, in the face of common challenges in contemporary society, from secularism, and religious persecution on account of the Name of Christ.
Integral to this new “Dialogue of Love” is the Russian Orthodox Church. As the largest of the Orthodox Churches, not only locally in the Russian Federation but also serving its faithful across the world, it is a Church alongside which the Catholic Church lives day by day, facing the same challenges and concerns, bearing witness to the same Lord. Represented in the United Kingdom by the Diocese of Sourozh led by Archbishop Elisey, the Russian Church is honoured for the sake of the sufferings it endured during more than 70 years of constraint, persecution and martyrdom under atheist Communist rule, and yet also, in the midst of exile and oppression, for instilling a deep love in the West for its unique cultural and spiritual patrimony, as well as the courage, fortitude and faith of its clergy and people.
As one who himself had also laboured under the yoke of Communist rule in Poland, Pope St John Paul II longed for closer relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, for the sake of building Christian Europe anew. The hope for a meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow was shared by Pope Benedict XVI but an encounter proved likewise inopportune.
Now, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill are to meet in Cuba in the course of their respective pastoral visits. While this momentous meeting is not to address and decide on disagreements, it is a move that has the potential to strengthen the numerous previous and existing efforts on the part of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches towards dialogue and unity, including those of Catholics and Orthodox in Russia and Ukraine, in the spirit of seeking after truth and reconciliation.
We recognise the vision and imagination of Patriarch Kirill in resolving to meet with the Holy Father as an answer to the prayers of many. We hope that it will be the first of many meetings in which trust and fraternity can grow, so that the reconciliation that Christ expected of us and the unity that He prayed for – both of which we long for - may be reached to His glory – “so that the world may believe it was You that sent Me.” (John 17.23)
Most Revd Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham
President of the Department of Dialogue and Unity
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales
Read on the CBCEW site here:
Papal Meeting with Patriarch of Moscow / News / Home / Catholic News - The Catholic Church for England and Wales
Friday, 5 February 2016
Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Returning to Rome from 1989–1992, he attended doctoral courses in Patristic Theology at the Augustinianum and prepared his doctoral dissertation. On 20 January 1992 he defended his dissertation entitled: "Juan el Solitario. Los cinco Discursos sobre las Bienaventuranzas," directed by Professors Alberto Camplani, Paul Bettiolo, and Sever Voicu. A translation of the dissertation is currently being prepared for publication by Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, scriptores syri of Leuven.
Since the academic year 1992-1993 has has been teaching at at Sant'Anselmo. From the 1995–1996 academic year he has also been teaching at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and the Pontifical Oriental Institute. He been a guest professor at the Pontifical Oriental Institute since 1998. and has taught a course on Eastern Christian Sacraments at the Pontifical Gregorian University since 2000. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the magazine Ephrem's Theological Journal since 1997.
On 14 November 1999 received the Archimandrial blessing from of the Melkite Eparch of Akko, Haifa, Nazareth, and all Galilee, Archbishop Boutros Mouallem.
Besides Catalan and Spanish, he knows Greek, Latin, Syriac, Italian, French, and English. The bishop-elect is a Greek citizen.
Translated and adapted by Rev. Dr, Athanasius McVay from the following sources: Vatican Information Service, and Pontifical Greek College blog.
Monday, 25 January 2016
Monday, 18 January 2016
Clip from the full documentary which will be shown on KTOTV on Wednesday 20th January for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Watch it on YouTube, or KTOTV on Wednesday at 2040 (7.40pm UK), repeated Thursday 21st at 1840 (5.40pm UK), Saturday 23rd at 1700 (4pm UK), Sunday 24th at 0730 (6.30 am) and Tuesday 26th at 1605 (3.05pm). An English subtitled version is planned for the future.
Monday, 11 January 2016