06 October 2010, 16:40
Metropolitan Hilarion thanks Catholics for their active assistance rendered to Orthodox believers abroad
Moscow, October 6, Interfax - Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk noted the active assistance rendered to Orthodox believers abroad by representatives of other Christian confessions.
"Do pundits of our cooperation with the Catholic Church know who provides our fellow countrymen abroad with premises necessary to conduct services, organize Sunday schools and establish Orthodox communication environment?" Metropolitan Hilarion said in an interview posted Wednesday by the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church.
According to him, many newly created Orthodox communities abroad use church buildings provided to them by non-Orthodox communities, primarily Catholics.
"When Catholics give Orthodox believers an opportunity to pray in the churches they own, and mostly without any charge, what can this mean?" Metropolitan Hilarion asked.
He emphasized the number of former Catholics and Protestants who have converted to Orthodoxy and joined Orthodox communities abroad, including as a result of mixed marriages.
"Do those authors who consider themselves the voice of "conservative church communities" know how difficult it is to obtain permission for church construction in the Western Europe and get the approval of the local authorities? Do they know about assistance rendered to our new dioceses by Catholic episcopates and even Protestant communities?" Metropolitan Hilarion asked.
He also urged his opponents to think of those Russians who became illegal migrants in the West and managed to obtain the necessary documents and work "with the help of Catholic and Protestant charity organizations upon request of Russian Orthodox dioceses."
At the same time, mentioning the challenges in relations between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, Metropolitan Hilarion stated that "it is a willful refusal of Greek Catholics from political expansion (in Ukraine - IF) that will allow us to settle matters which complicate the Orthodox-Catholic relations today."
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