Moscow (AsiaNews) – The Pope’s “courage” and dedication in denouncing the evil of our times, by inviting all Christians to be true witnesses of Christ, our salvation is just one of the aspects of Benedict XVI’s pontificate which Russian Catholics and Orthodox both underlined in their birthday greetings to the Pontiff.
Patriarch Alexi II of Moscow and All Russia greeted Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of his 80th birthday and wished him good health, many years of life, and God’s help in his spiritual ministry. “I express my special admiration – writes the Patriarch - of your life that has wholly been dedicated to the church ministry, and which has brought you to the head of the Roman Catholic Church”. Alexi II defines the Pontiff “a famous theologian fully dedicated to defending and affirming of traditional Christian values”, in modern society. “It should become a solid basis for good relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church,” concludes the Patriarch.
In expressing his wishes to the Pope Fr. Igor Vyzhanov, secretary for Christian affaire at the Moscow Patriarchate, reiterated the “esteem” in which Benedict XVI is held in the Orthodox Church, as well as the appreciation for his dedication to the progress of ecumenism. Catholic and Russian Orthodox faithful gathered to pray today “for the Pope and Christian unity” along with religious representatives from the two communities at the catacombs of St Pancreas.
Msgr. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, catholic archbishop of the Mother of God Cathedral Moscow, confirms the “Pope’s sincere desire to dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian society as a whole”. In his birthday greeting to Benedict XVI, he underlines the Popes “theological depth” and expresses his appreciation of the Pope’s “clear position regarding the delicate themes of today’s world”. “At the centre of his theology – he continues - there is Christ as the only Savoir of the human being to whom man has always to appeal. On the base of His teaching we have to create the future of Europe overfull with secularism, moral relativism and denying of the Christian roots”.