27 September 2010, 10:09
Russian Church open to dialogue with Catholics, Protestants
Yakutsk, September 27, Interfax - The Russian Church is open to dialogue with other Christian communities, but will not compromise on key issues.
"We have had intensive dialogue with Catholics and Protestants since the 1960s and we have many joint projects. This dialogue grew weaker at times because some Western Churches started aggressive missionary activities among Orthodox people here, and we of course disagreed with that," Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, said while meeting with students of the Yakutsk Northwestern Federal University.
The Russian Church is currently having "quite intensive dialogue with both Catholics and Protestants," but is trying to avoid getting distracted by smaller things to the detriment of main things. "The main thing is the truth about God, on which a person's eternal life depends," he said.
Father Vsevolod said the Moscow Patriarchate disagrees that some Western Churches, specially Protestant, "of which some can already be called post-Christian and post-Evangelical," fall under the influence of public and intellectual fashion.
They end up with things that "are definitely contrary to the way of life and doctrines of the apostolic Church created by Christ," the priest said.
These things include gay marriage, female priesthood, including lesbian priesthood, and "absolute relativism in the sphere of personal morals."
"We disagree with this tendency of some communities towards absolute relativism and we will always say this in our debate with Christian or post-Christian communities," Fr. Vsevolod said.
However, he reiterated that "the theological differences with the Catholic Church, of course, remain, adding that "an important meeting," the 12th session of the Joint Theological Commission on Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, where these differences, including the issue of the primate of the Pope are being discussed, is taking place right now.