10 May 2006, 15:44
Patriarch Alexy names Pope's role crucial issue for overcoming schism in Christianity
Moscow, May 10, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia said the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches should seek common witness about God rather than competition.
‘It is quite obvious that we should not compete with each other, as competition leads to confidence gap and enmity. On the contrary, we should unite for the sake of fulfilling a great mission of proclaiming the word of God to people and witnessing about Christian values to our society’, the patriarch said in his interview to the Italian news agency Ansa published on the official web-site of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Alexy II is convinced in the importance of openness, Christian love and trust that should be the major criteria in the relations between the two churches.
Answering a question whether the overcoming of the schism of 1054 between the Orthodox and the Catholics is real, he noted that it was necessary to reach ‘a mutually acceptable understanding of the Pope’s place in the life of the Church and solve some other theological problems’.
He also named the factors that complicate relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Vatican, for instance, proselytism (the enticing of believers - IF) on the part of the Catholics among the traditionally Orthodox population on the territory of Russia and other CIS countries, especially among children with Orthodox background or baptized as Orthodox. The Catholic orphanages are trying to introduce these children to the Catholic divine services’.
Besides, he said, the continuous tension in the relations between the Orthodox and the Greek Catholics in Ukraine still poses a problem.
‘The situation is complicated by the fact that the Uniates are trying to expand their influence to the Orthodox southern and eastern regions of the country at any cost. The recent transfer of the chair of the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics Church from Lvov to Kiev in spite of categorical disagreement of all local Orthodox churches with this move, has shown clearly that the Greek Catholics were not going to give up expansion,’ Alexy II noted.
Talking about his possible meeting with the Pope, the Patriarch stated his position again: ‘the meeting of the two primates should lead to a real solution of the problems painful for our believers rather than become a mere protocol event’.
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