2009-06-01 13:27:00

Archbishop Hilarion contemplates the establishment of new local Orthodox Churches

Moscow, June 1, Interfax - Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk believes that the current Inter-Orthodox consultations may cause the establishment of new local Orthodox churches.

"It is our opinion that the progressive consolidation of Orthodox communities will eventually result in the establishment of new local Orthodox Churches," Archbishop Hilarion said Interfax-Religion on Monday.

According to him, the claims that Orthodox communities are "isolated from each other" evidence "the lack of knowledge about the real life of the community."

"Orthodox believers usually seek communication with each other, and sometimes people make long trips, overcome language barriers and other obstacles to meet a particular Orthodox priest or attend a particular service," the Archbishop said.

He highlighted that Orthodoxy had always considered its main objective "to foster the Church unity" and keep traditions, and recalled that to meet this objective, the Church "needs to consolidate its theological identity, exchange experience in catechetesis and education, extend its pastoral care and pursue social work in today's environment."

The 4th all-Orthodox pre-conciliar consultation is to be held in the Constantinople Patriarchate Orthodox center in Chambésy on June 6-13, 2009. Participants will touch upon the topic of organizing Orthodox diaspora (Orthodox believers living out of borders of any local Orthodox Church).

Three all-Orthodox pre-conciliar consultations (Chambésy 1976, 1982, 1986) and five inter-Orthodox preparatory commissions (Geneva, 1971, Chambésy 1986, 1990, 1993 and 1999) were held in the past.