Will Francis go to Moscow? Russian Orthodox size up new pope


By Pavel Korobov

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk and head of the Russian Orthodox Church's Department of External Relations, says the Argentine pontiff's decision to honor Saint Francis of Assisi puts "service to the poor” at the top of the new pope's agenda.

According to Hilarion, such service is a good starting point for the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches to find new ways to work together. “We see a large area of possibilities for partnership with the Roman Catholic Church,” he said. “We hope that our relationship as partners will grow under the leadership of this new pontiff.”

“We hope that Francis will give a push to the development of good relations between our churches, continuing a process started by his predecessor,” explained Dimitry Sizonenko, Secretary of the Department of Inter-Christian relations in the Russian Orthodox Church. “Pope Francis has said before that he likes Dostoevsky, and we would like to think that he might also like the spiritual tradition of the Russian Orthodox church.”

People who know the new pope say that the hoped-for warming in the two churches’ relationship is entirely possible. “As the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio regularly visited Russian Orthodox Churches on Christmas Eve,” said Orthodox Bishop John, the Bishop for South America whose headquarters is located in the Argentinian capital.

He concludes that: “the new pope has a good relationship with Russian Orthodoxy and with Russian Orthodox believers.”

Russian Catholics are also betting that under Pope Francis there will be progress in Catholic-Orthodox relations. Igor Kovalevski, the general secretary of the Russian Conference of Bishops, noted that the newly-elected pope is well-versed in Byzantine Christian traditions since he also led Argentina's community of Greek Catholics, who are in full communion with the pope but have a liturgical tradition that is distinct from Roman Catholics.

"So he knows about the relationship between Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism," says Kovalevski.

Finding neutral ground

According to Igor Baranov, one of the editors of the "Catholic Encyclopedia,” Pope Francis’s stances on social issues like marriage, abortion and euthanasia are similar to the Orthodox Church’s. “Just as the image of St. Francis of Assisi is important in Russian culture, so the image of Pope Francis will become close to Russian spirituality,” Baranov said.

There has been tension between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church since the 1990s, when Catholics in Ukraine seized Orthodox churches. For that reason, the two sides say that in spite of the positive predictions, it is still very early to talk about a meeting between Pope Francis and Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.

“A meeting between the new pontiff and the patriarch would probably have to take place on neutral territory and not until Russia is ready for it,” Kovalevski explained.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion concurs: “I think that a meeting is possible, but its time and place will be largely determined by how quickly we can get over the conflicts that arose in the 1980s and 90s.”

Hilarion also said that Pope Francis has declared on more than one occasion that he feels close to the Orthodox Church and would like to have close contact between the two churches. As the diplomatic representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, Hilarion will have his first meeting with the new pope sometime this week.

22 марта 2013 г.

Подпишитесь на рассылку Православие.Ru

Рассылка выходит два раза в неделю:

  • В воскресенье — православный календарь на предстоящую неделю.
  • Новые книги издательства Сретенского монастыря.
  • Специальная рассылка к большим праздникам.
Храм Новомученников Церкви Русской. Внести лепту
John24 мая 2015, 15:00
There is a prophecy that Pope Francis will go to Russis: Read here: https://facebook.com/profile.php?id=488057944580768
Mark Silverbird29 мая 2014, 21:00
To reconcile Jesus' Catholic Church is "from GOD".
Robert 3 декабря 2013, 05:00
The divide between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Patriarchates is needless ALL are of ancient Apostolic origin and authority ...Pope Francis may just be sufficiently innovative and conciliatory to mend the damaging rift that has haunted Christianity for centuries .The blueprint already exists viz. the Uniat eastern rites ( eg, Maronite , Byzantine ..etc.) - which recognize the bishop of Rome as the successor to St Peter , but retain their autonomy and traditions .The benefits of reconciliation would far outweigh the importance of whatever compromises might be involved .
Mary Lanser28 октября 2013, 19:00
The article represented above that compares St. Francis and St. Seraphim is actually predicated on hagiography of St. Francis that has been forbidden explicitly by the Vatican because it is not a true history but full of made up stories and exaggerations that are not edifying to the faithful. It is interesting that many Orthodox anti-unionists must turn to forbidden and pro-scripted materials and to Catholic dissidents to make their case against the Catholic Church. Not only is there a reverence for St. Frances to be found among devout Russian Orthodox but there is also a cult of Our Lady of Fatima that exists, because many Russian Orthodox are aware that the prayer is not to convert Russia to the western way of being but to convert the Godless regime of communism and free Russia from that bondage, which has and continues to happen, to the great glory of the Trinity and the Mother of our God. A great deal of the difficulty in dealing with anti-unionists is that they only talk among one another and are totally closed to learning anything if it threatens the narrative that they have concocted against the papal Church, the Catholic Church, and her traditions and teachings. These polemics do violence to the real, systematic and prayerful work of seeking unity in theology, unity in faith, and mutual understanding of the life of the spirit and doctrine.
Joe28 октября 2013, 15:00
Anyways it is high time, the apostolic churches work side by side to prevent the slow but steady rise of counterfeit churches that do not have any sacraments and bash everything that we respect and consider holy.
Joe28 октября 2013, 15:00
Pope going to russia ? Reminds me of a prophecy.
David 4 октября 2013, 18:00
Be very careful of this Pope...like John Paul he is too ecumenical...refusing to bless people in the Name of Christ because an unbeliever might be offended. He is not to be trusted. Oh, Orthodox brothers, beware.
edward11 августа 2013, 13:00
Pope francis is clear of his blueprint as pope of the world's largest church, he wants the poor's voice be heard the world could listen and calls up attention of various governments to outreach the poor especially those neglected in the streets and hungry. . .This is a legitimate role of a pastor, one who cares the voiceless, the pope is also willing to outreach other religion for improved relationship and cooperation. .with this beautiful vision of the pope, may other religion such as orthodox acknowledges pope's efforts and sincerity and open doors for a unified force of faith and one common mission.
shanoobee10 июня 2013, 07:00
yes bet the job done
David Fernandez23 апреля 2013, 07:00
We pray that our one God the Holy Trinity, by the action of our one and only Lord Jesus the Christ the Most High, will work the healing and reconciliation of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and all Christian Churches, over the vaulting ambitions and pettiness of the ecclesiastical leaders, while yet affirming their essential faith and belief in Him Jesus the Messiah of all humankind, He who alone is the Most High Lord and God who is with us. We pray that His Second Coming will manifest in our time in this 21st century, or very soon.
Robert Gale 5 апреля 2013, 00:00
Lovely to see the new pope is apparently very informed in the wonderful spirituality of the orthodox faith.As a recent convert to orthodoxy,I wish the worldwide orthodox communions,and the new roman pontiff every blessing in the lord
supreme conscience29 марта 2013, 02:00
It is important to have good friendship because the Pope must consecrate Russia to Our Lady of Fatima as a blessing for Holy Russia.
John Chrysostom24 марта 2013, 22:00
Francis of Assisi is not regarded a saint by the Orthodox Church and he is not important at all to Russian culture. The following article explains exactly how different Assisi was from a true, Russian saint, St. Seraphim Of Sarov: http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/francis_sarov.aspx Perhaps this whole discussion is just to mislead those who somehow naively think that the difference between Catholics and Orthodox heretofore rest largely in something insignificant--a proclivity to have a mission for the poor. May God forgive you people who work against Him. Zlataost
Здесь вы можете оставить к данной статье свой комментарий, не превышающий 700 символов. Все комментарии будут прочитаны редакцией портала Православие.Ru.
Войдите через FaceBook ВКонтакте Яндекс Mail.Ru Google или введите свои данные:
Ваше имя:
Ваш email:
Введите число, напечатанное на картинке

Осталось символов: 700