15 November 2010, 15:41
Kaliningrad Orthodox diocese advises Catholic archbishop "not to throw stones in glass house"
Kaliningrad, November 15, Interfax - The Kaliningrad Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church has denied the reproaches made by Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Moscow, who has recently protested the transfer of a former Roman Catholic church building in Kaliningrad to the Moscow Patriarchate.
"It seems more than strange that Archbishop Paolo Pezzi has publicly accused all Orthodox people of slander, lack of confidence, and 'fanning ethnic and religious feud' without even trying to negotiate and discuss the current situation. Such badly thought-out statements can do real damage to the cooperation and relations between our churches, and maybe not only in the Kaliningrad Region," the communication service of the Kaliningrad Diocese said in a statement received by Interfax-Religion on Monday.
Criticizing the transfer to the Russian Church of the building of the organ hall of the Kaliningrad philharmonic, the former Catholic Church of the Holy Family, Pezzi mentioned the history of Eastern Prussia, which had no Orthodox churches, but only Lutheran and Catholic churches.
"Such 'history-related' statements cause surprise and we have to recall that the ethnic and religious composition of the Kaliningrad Region fully changed over the past sixty years. Today the overwhelming majority of the region's residents consider themselves Orthodox. The Kaliningrad Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church bases its service on this fact, trying to meet the real needs of believers," the diocese said in its statement.
For this reason, the Church needs new premises for its work, and sometimes the Church receives objects that are extremely rundown.
Speaking about the history of Eastern Prussia and Europe in general, the Orthodox diocese called for recalling who played the deciding role in defeating fascism.
"The land of former Eastern Prussia is stained by the blood of Soviet warriors, who gave their lives in the fight against mankind's most horrible enemy in the 20th century," the statement says.
The stay of modern residents of Kaliningrad on this land is "legal both from a moral and legal viewpoint" and a part of former Eastern Prussia became "an integral part of the Russian Federation," the statement says.
The statement also says that the Kaliningrad Region is not a successor to Eastern Prussia, which means that "any references to the past have legal significance only in the limits of the historical existence of the Kaliningrad Region."
In its address to Pezzi, the Orthodox diocese recalled the Italian proverb stating that people in a glass house should not throw stones. "The Kaliningrad Region is a special region on the map of Russia. Its uniqueness dictates to us, representatives of different religions, a model of peaceful co-existence and cooperation, for which the Russian Orthodox Church is ready," the statement says.