2008-07-09 14:41:00

Anglican Church decision to consecrate women-bishops challenges Orthodox-Anglican dialogue - Bishop Hilarion

Moscow, July 9, Interfax - Monday decision of the Church of England General Synod to consecrate women bishops affects Orthodox-Anglican relations, the Russian Church has stated.

"The so-called "women priesthood" is one of the stumbling blocks in the dialogue between Anglicans and Orthodox. "Women episcopacy" will become another one. It will set Anglican community aside of the Orthodox Church even more," head of the Russian Church representation to the European Institutions Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria told an Interfax-Religion correspondent.

According to Bishop Hilarion, the Russian Church interprets this step "as the Anglican community's next concession to the modern secular standards demanding to equal woman to man in every aspect."

"Centuries-old tradition of Christian Church is denied for political correctness once again," the interviewee of the agency said.

He reminded that the Orthodox Church has always disapproved of ordaining women practiced by the Anglican community "as such ordination contradicts original Church tradition ascending to apostles and Christ."

Bishop Hilarion is surprised that such a decision was adopted on the eve of the Lambeth Conference - a decennial meeting of Anglican bishops from all around the world to be held in London from July 19 to August 4.

"The conference has invited Orthodox observers and they will have a chance to express their opinion on the processes underway in the Anglican community," the bishop said as the Moscow Patriarchate has appointed him an observer to the Lambeth Conference.

He wonders if "it makes sense for Orthodox observers to participate in a forum of the Church that takes decisions invariably contradicting Orthodox ecclesiology."

"And to what extent bilateral Orthodox-Anglican is rational in such a situation. I suppose leaders of local Orthodox Churches should consider these questions seriously again," the Russian Church representative said.