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Old 06-12-2008, 04:00 AM   #27
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Exclamation Vatican control of Russian Orthodox Church

Warm words hint at further Vatican-Moscow thaw

Posted by: Chris Baldwin
May 30th, 2008

With some news events, not much happens but the atmosphere is so striking that it’s worth mentioning all the same. That was the case in Moscow this week as Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, met Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy II.

Though this was an unofficial visit, the patriarch and the cardinal both took care to use language noticeable for its friendly, accommodating and even warm tone in their greetings - a continuation of what is seen as a “thaw” and “emerging cooperation” between the two churches.

“I am convinced of the necessity in an Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, based on the coincidence of our positions on many of the issues facing the Christian world today,” Alexiy told Kasper. “I believe (your) interest in the life and traditions of the (Orthodox) Church will turn out to be important between our two Churches.”

For his part, Kasper returned the greeting in kind: “We have met more than once now, but each time I meet with you I do so with great happiness. And I hope this meeting will enable further development in our relations, contacts and cooperation.”

He also brought a personal message from Pope Benedict who praised the “growing closeness between us, accompanied by the shared desire to promote authentic Christian values and to witness to our Lord in ever deeper communion.”

In private the two men discussed issues of religious education at Catholic orphanages for those baptised Russian Orthodox and the spread of the Uniate faith in western Ukraine, an area seen by Moscow as within Russian Orthodoxy’s canonical territory.

The elephant in the room, which the two men did not discuss in front of reporters, was whether the formerly frosty relations between the two churches had thawed enough to facilitate a future meeting between Alexiy and Benedict, something the Pope is actively seeking. Only last October, the Russians walked out of a theological dialogue meeting with the Catholic Church in Ravenna, Italy in protest over a doctrinal issue.

“Nothing concrete was said about this, but there was a confirmation on principle that a meeting is possible,” a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church told reporters after the meeting. “But, as His Holiness the Patriarch said, this kind of meeting has to be well planned so that it isn’t just a photo-opportunity.”

While in Russia, Kasper also toured Orthodox dioceses in Nizhny Novgorod, Smolensk and Kazan to pray at icons there before stopping in Moscow, a gesture seen as a welcome sign of respect for the Russian church.
Reminds me of that meeting with the traitorous Anglican Church where they've made preparations for the coming together of the churches with rulership under the Temporal Power which was set for 2009 according to The Times. -Craig

Vatican Takes Step to Reabsorb Orthodox Church

A recent document brings Catholic and Orthodox members closer to reconciliation.

November 16, 2007 | From

The Vatican has drafted a joint document with Orthodox Church leaders declaring that the pope has primacy over all Catholic and Orthodox bishops. The agreement was reached by a joint international commission in Revenna, Italy, on October 13 and released by the Vatican on Thursday.

The document specifically declares that the pope held the highest position in the unified church before the Great Schism in 1054, and that the bishop of Rome was the protos, or first, among the patriarchs, including those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.

That acknowledgment could pave the way for eventual reunification of the two churches—under the pope’s rule.

Cardinal Water Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, called discussions of the pope’s power in the early Catholic Church the “real breakthrough” of the document.

“This document is a modest first step and as such one of hope,” he told Vatican Radio. “But we must not exaggerate its importance. This will not be easy. The road is very long and difficult.”

The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054, largely because of disagreements over the authority of the pope. Its 220 million members fall under the authority of autonomous national churches, rather than a universal ruler, the way 1.1 billion Roman Catholics do.

Although the two sides agreed on the primacy of the pre-1054 pope, they still disagree on what his authority entailed in terms of the power he could exercise. The early popes had much less consolidated and centralized power than their second-millennium counterparts have wielded. This will make for thornier deliberations, particularly when the dogma of papal infallibility, which the Catholic Church developed after the split and formally defined in 1870, is discussed. However, in the interest of ecumenicism, the commission has called for the role of the pope to be studied in greater depth.

Pope Benedict xvi has called regaining the Orthodox Church a priority of his administration. In May last year, a senior Russian Orthodox official delivered a message from Patriarch Alexiy ii to Benedict, and Vatican officials said they were working toward a meeting between the two. The same month, 50 Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox officials held a meeting in Vienna.

In November last year, the pope met in Istanbul with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is considered the spiritual head of Eastern Orthodoxy.

Benedict is literally making a career out of re-acquiring Catholicism’s daughter churches. However, no matter what is on the table for discussion, one dogma will remain the same: Everybody obeys the pope.

As a result of these ecumenical maneuverings—resulting in Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant daughters being welded back into the universal church—look for papal authority not to weaken but to ultimately increase even further than it has already.

Remember the Jesuits took over this church after trying for many years. All thanks to the Knights of Malta financing and organising of the event within Russia and within London and New York! -Craig

Russian Orthodox Church head dies

Friday, 5 December 2008

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexiy II, has died at the age of 79.

There is no word on the cause of his death at his residence outside Moscow, but he had been sick for some time. No date has been set yet for the funeral.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called his death a "great loss".

Alexiy II was credited with helping restore the moral authority of the Russian Orthodox Church after decades of repression under communism.

Favoured by the KGB as he rose through the Church's ranks, he then oversaw its post-communist revival.

However, relations with the Roman Catholic Church remained frosty and he repeatedly refused to meet the late Pope John Paul II, or his successor, Benedict XVI. He's been ruthless in suppressing alternative views in the Orthodox church

Michael Bordeaux
Keston College religious research centre

Double life of patriarch
Russia pays tribute to patriarch

The Russian Orthodox Church counts nearly 70% of Russia's population - about 100 million people - among its members.

The BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow says Alexiy II was a hugely revered figure.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said he was shocked by the death. "I respected him deeply," he said.

A spokesman for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he would return to Russia from India on Friday, cancelling a planned trip to Italy.

Unswerving obedience

Born Alexei Rediger to a Russian Orthodox family living in Estonia in 1929, the future patriarch rose swiftly through the ranks of the Church after studying theology in St Petersburg.

By the age of 32 he was a bishop, by 35 an archbishop.

After moving to Moscow he served as the Patriarchate's chief administrator and the deputy head of the Church's external affairs department.

The life and times of Patriarch Alexy II
In the second post, he attracted criticism for what many thought was his unswerving obedience to the dictates of Soviet foreign policy.

Supporters argued that he was merely doing his best to win concessions for his persecuted church.

Alexiy II became the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1990, shortly before the fall of the Soviet Union.

In the new era of restored freedom and influence the church found itself with a prominent role rebuilding national self-esteem and morality in the post-Soviet period, our correspondent says.

He insisted on his Church's right to be the sole national Church of Russia, bringing the scattered branches of the Russian Orthodox Church back under the control of the Moscow Patriarchate.

He also moved the Orthodox Church closer to political circles, often visiting the Kremlin and aligning himself with its foreign policy stances.

Churches restored

One reason for his differences with the Catholic Church was a dispute over land taken by the Greek Catholic Church from the Orthodox Church in Ukraine in the early 1990s.

He also accused the Catholic Church of missionary activity in traditionally Orthodox areas, and blocked Pope John Paul II's long-held intention of visiting Russia.
Alexiy II enjoyed close relations with the Kremlin

Relations improved after the 2005 election of Pope Benedict, correspondents say. The Pope said he was "profoundly saddened" by the patriarch's death.

Last year, Alexiy II presided over a union with a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church whose members fled abroad to escape the Bolshevik Revolution.

The ending of the 80-year schism with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was seen as a significant achievement for the patriarch.

Alexiy II also oversaw a major programme to restore and re-open hundreds of Russia's churches.

Michael Bordeaux, founder of the Keston College religious research centre, said he had been a "very strong patriarch".

"The bishops appointed under Patriarch Alexiy are very much of his mindset - he's been ruthless in suppressing alternative views in the Orthodox church."

Last edited by realdeal; 06-12-2008 at 04:01 AM.
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