20 February 2016, 10:21
Russian Church urges its parishioners not to be afraid of the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches merger after Cuba meeting
Moscow, February 20, Interfax - Head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk urges Orthodox believers not to think that meeting of the patriarch and the pope can result in merger of the Russian Church with the Catholic Church.
In his interview with Interfax-Religion he tried to respond the concerns of those parishioners who are afraid of such a prospect.
"First of all, I would like to recommend them to read the declaration of the pope and the patriarch attentively, it shows what they talked about. There was not any attempt of closing up the teaching, the dogmatic or theological questions were not discussed. Such discussion is not on the agenda today," the metropolitan said.
He explained that today it is not the question of overcoming this historical division, but "we speak about learning to live and work in this world as brothers, not rivals in order to protect the values we share."
The metropolitan quoted the words of Cuban leader Raul Castro, which he said at his meeting with Patriarch Kirill, when the patriarch was telling him about yet coming meeting with the pope. "President Raul recalled the proverb that every road, even the longest one, starts with the first step," the metropolitan said.
"This step has been done - he further said - and now I hope that believers of the two traditions will walk along this long road together, not making any compromises with their conscience, not making doctrinal compromises, but protecting the things we share."
See the full text of interview under the Exclusive heading.