24 May 2006, 13:16
Theological dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox Churches to resume this autumn
Moscow, May 24, Interfax - The theological commission for dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and Local Orthodox Churches is to resume its work this September in Belgrade.
As the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations has informed Interfax on Wednesday, the meeting will focus on the primacy of the pope and the Greek Catholics.
The Moscow Patriarchate will be represented by Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, Russian Orthodox Church representative at European organizations, and Rev. Igor Vyzhanov, DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations.
The joint commission responsible for settlement of theological issues was set up in the 1980s. Its work was interrupted in 2000 after the meeting in Baltimore, USA, which failed to resolve the problem of the Uniates.
Several years ago, the Pope of Rome and Patriarch Bartholomew signed a joint statement fixing up the intention to resume the interrupted dialogue.
‘Thank God, the theological dialogue is being resumed’, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, head of the Moscow-based Catholic Archdiocese of the Mother of God, said in a talk to an Interfax correspondent.
The Moscow Patriarchate and the Vatican have also worked together in a joint working group for resolving practical problems existing in relations between the two Churches. It was set up in February 2004.
Assessing Orthodox-Catholic relations, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz noted that ‘they are still far from ideal, but nevertheless a very positive shift is taking shape’.
He also pointed to the need, which has repeatedly voiced by both Churches, that they should together bear witness to Christian values in face of the present-day challenges.
‘These challenges are enormous. Where is Europe going! Where is the world going! When I travel around Russia I am often asked why we do not see you speaking together about problems in our society and in the world at large - the problems of family, drug addiction and alcoholism, terrorism, social justice’, the archbishop noted.
Speaking about a possibility for a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, the archbishop was confident that ‘it will happen some day, but conditions should ripen for it’.