Moscow, September 21, Interfax – Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is visiting Rome, has celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Catacombs of St. Callixtus.
Speaking to believers after the service, the Archbishop urged to overcome a thousand-year-old dispute between Christians of East and West and reminded about heroism of first Christians who prayed in catacombs and preserved unity in spite of persecutions from outside.
“Denied by the world, far from human eyes, deep under ground in caves, first Roman Christians performed the feat of prayer. Their life brought fruit of holiness and martyr heroism. The Holy Church was built on their blood shed for Christ,” the DECR press service has cited Archbishop Hilarion as saying.
Then Church came out of the catacombs, but Christian unity was lost, the Archbishop further said. Today, when the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church don’t have Eucharist communication and many Protestants gave up fundamental Christian principles, “we should clearly understand, that division is sin, tearing apart body of Church and weakening the power of Christian witness in secular world,” Archbishop Hilarion stressed.
He reminded that human sin was the cause of all divisions, while Christian unity could be restored only in the way of sanctity.
“Each of us, conscientiously fulfilling a task the Church has given him or her, is called to personally contribute in treasury of Christian sanctity and work to achieve God-commanded Christian unity,” the Archbishop said in his sermon.