09 October 2006, 12:44
Moscow Patriarchate official thanks Cardinal Tettamanzi for clear denunciation of proselytism
Moscow, October 9, Interfax - Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, thanked the Catholic Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, for his clearly-voiced disapproval of the incorrect missionary policy that had been pursued by some Westerners in the 1990s in Russia and Eastern Europe.
During his meeting with Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia on October 2, Cardinal Tettamanzi said in particular that the intensified activity of some Western missionaries at that time did not always looked ‘ecumenically correct’ and sometimes proved even ‘offensive’ for the Russian Orthodox Church, ‘which had historically and continues to have the gift of proclaiming the gospel in this land and the mission of witness in it’, and stated that proselytism today ‘is denounced by many, not only Orthodox Christians but also Catholics’.
‘I would like to express gratitude for so clearly stated a position. Then other high-ranking hierarchs of the Roman Catholic church, expressing the Vatican’s official position on this matter, also stated on numerous occasions that it was not the intention of their Church to carry out mission among the Orthodox wherever they may be’, Father Vsevolod told Interfax on Monday.
He also stressed that in his comments on the Archbishop of Milan’s statements, he proceeded from the theses the archbishop ‘had sent to His Holiness before their meeting’.
‘It is important of course that the details of this attitude should be clarified, and it is my conviction that in this case the matter concerns all those who were baptized in the Orthodox Church and all those who are tied with Orthodoxy by their family and historical roots’, the Moscow Patriarchate spokesman stated.
He also expressed the wish ‘that this official attitude (of a representative of the Roman Catholic Church - IF) be always practiced by the priests and monastics who work in various countries’.
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