2008-07-11 14:17:00

Bishops' Council against isolation and confessional mix, the Moscow Patriarchate says

Moscow, July 11, Interfax - The Russian Church Bishops' Council recently held in Moscow has "decisively dissociated from two extreme ideologies," deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said.

"On one side, it is Bishop Diomid's isolation and identifying Orthodoxy with a certain political choice. On the other, it is "a confessional mix" and the so-called theory of branches which equals all Christian confessions that supposedly belong to one living tree," Fr. Vsevolod told an Interfax-Religion correspondent on Friday.

"I think the question of our participation in ecumenical prayers messing up Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant traditions is settled once and forever," the priest said.

He reminded that once the Orthodox participation in such prayers was justified as "then Western Christians were closer to us in true faith kept by the Orthodox Church, while today they, especially the world of liberal Protestantism, have got even further from the possibility of such unity."

According to the priest, the Council stated that "witness to the truth of the Holy Orthodoxy" is an objective of inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogues, and the councilor decision reads that the Russian Orthodox Church "doesn't accept any attempts to "mix confessions," to hold joint prayer services that artificially combine confessional or religious traditions."

Besides, Fr. Vsevolod further said, one of the Council's preliminary documents - theological and canonical analysis of letters and appeals signed by Bishop Diomid - reminds of "the very clear thought stated in the Basic Principles of the Attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church Towards the Non-Orthodox, that the Orthodox Church is "the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church."

The interviewee of the agency noted that the Theological and canonical analysis also stated that "Orthodox believers can visit Catholic or Protestant churches, attend non-Orthodox service without voiced or inner prayer, Orthodox prayer before all-Christian shrines is also acceptable while public or private prayers with non-Orthodox are inadmissible for Orthodox believers."