2006-08-30 13:56:00

Russian Church’s withdrawal from WCC will only undermine position of Orthodoxy in the world and play into the hands of its ill wishers - Metropolitan Kirill

Moscow, August 30, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate may intensify its participation in the World Council of Churches (WCC) for the purpose of asserting the interests of Orthodoxy.

‘Today we intend to continue and perhaps intensify it (participation in the WCC - IF) since the World Council is a good platform for both preaching and asserting the values and interests of Orthodoxy throughout the world’, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, said in a interview to the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church.

He pointed out that consultative work has been carried out within the WCC between national Orthodox Churches, and sometimes this organization offers the only platform for meetings of Orthodox participants for them to discuss between themselves the burning problems of today.

‘In pulling out, we will isolate ourselves from the consultation process among national Orthodox Churches. It cannot be ruled out that it will be to some people’s liking. It is a well-known fact that there are forces in Orthodoxy who take the successes of the Russian Orthodox Church badly and are interested in its weakening’, the metropolitan said.

However, if Christendom does not hear the voice of the Russian Church ‘it will hear other voices’, he added. And this, the metropolitan believes, ‘can lead to a breach of the balances within the universal Orthodoxy which have been maintained with great effort thanks to the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church in the world’.

According to the hierarch, a withdrawal from the WCC would imply a considerable weakening of the position of the Russian Church within the Orthodox family and in the world ‘including the Russian society which is very much concerned for inter-confessional and interfaith relations’.

‘The demand that the Russian Orthodox Church should isolated itself can be made either by those who are not aware of the developments in the WCC and the real role of the Russian Church in the entire complex system of inter-Christian and interfaith relations or those who consciously seek to restrict its influence and to weaken its authority’, the metropolitan stated.

He noted at the same time that ‘if the major participants in the WCC continue deviating from basic Christian theology and ethics’, the Moscow Patriarchate will have to review the forms and the very possibility of its further involvement in this organization.

‘The crisis of the ecumenical movement is linked first of all with the crisis that has swept many Protestant communities which are heading rapidly towards extreme liberalism and radical modernization of their religious life rejecting the fundamental norms of the doctrine and Christian morality’, the metropolitan said adding that he meant first of all the new practice of ordination of homosexuals and ‘blessing’ of same-sex marriages.

Commenting on the accusations against the Russian Orthodox Church clergy sharing communion with the non-Orthodox, also at WCC meetings, the metropolitan stressed that the Moscow Patriarchate representatives ‘have never come to communion together with the non-Orthodox and never let believers of other Christian communities come to the Cup’.