12 February 2013, 10:01
Age not the only reason for Pope's resignation - Russia's Evangelical Christian leader
Moscow, February 12, Interfax - Pope Benedict XVI's advanced age is a serious but not the decisive reason for his resignation, said Sergey Ryakhovsky, the head of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians and a member of the Public Chamber.
"He has made a rather wise decision. I don't think his age is the main reason, although it did play a role. Complex processes are going on in the Roman-Catholic Church. I think the pope wishes the best to his denomination. I don't remember another pope in the history of Catholicism who would step down standing high and respected," he told Interfax.
But resignation does not mean he would quit for good, he said.
"Perhaps he has a plan or some original decision. I think he will play a role in the future even not being the pope," he said.
Benedict XVI will go down in history as a pope who made his personal contribution to the work to improve dialogue between various branches of Christianity, and between Christianity and Islam, he said.
"I am convinced that Benedict XVI plays a special role in promoting inter-denominational dialogue. There was a very serious dialogue between Catholics and Protestants - I represent the Protestant branch of Christianity in Russia. This open position was of crucial importance for me," Ryakhovsky said.
The Pope's positions helped promote dialogue between the denominations, he said. "He is sufficiently conservative-minded, which helped improve the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. I am sure the Islamic part of the inter-denominational dialogue has improved, too," he said.