» 11/11/2013 VATICAN - RUSSIA Card. Scola in Moscow, ecumenism grows from encounter between the faithful Ecumenical dialogue conducted "at a grass roots level" and not just in commissions, but also the relationship with Islam and defense of Christian values at the heart of the visit of the Archbishop of Milan to the Patriarch of Moscow. The impending visit of Putin to the Pope : "Very pleased , Russia is a fundamental point of reference in the new world order ."
Moscow (AsiaNews) - First of all
the issue of the "life of the Orthodox diocese of Milan", but
probably also the "common work in dialogue with Islam" and the
protection of the Christian communities in the Middle East; these are the
issues at the center of the "courtesy call" paid by the Archbishop of
Milan, Card. Angelo
Scola, to the Patriarch of Moscow , Kirill tomorrow , November 12, the Cardinal
told press yesterday, the first of his three-day visit to Moscow at the
invitation of the Archbishop of Mother of God , Msgr. Paolo Pezzi . Despite
"not being related" to the forthcoming audience of the Russian
President, Vladimir Putin, with the Pope - as the same Scola was keen to stress
- the visit is framed within a flurry of exchanges between the two Churches. In
fact, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk , chairman of the Department for
External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, is currently in Rome to meet
Pope Francis and present the book "Word of God and the word of man,"
with contributions by the Russian philologist Serghei Averintsev . At
the end of the month, then , the President of the Pontifical Council for the
Family , Msgr. Vincenzo
Paglia , is expected in Moscow to speak at a conference organized by the
Orthodox Church, on the theme of family.
motive for my visit of courtesy to the Patriarch - said Scola - is to speak to him about the situation of the
Orthodox faithful in Milan, how we relate to them, giving them churches where
they can celebrate the divine liturgy and our experience of a greatly fraternal
relationship". The Cardinal notes that it is at this "grass roots level"
that ecumenical dialogue is most effective. "Doctrinal and theological
commissions are important as are commitment on issues common to the two
Churches like the family, justice , life - he said , defining the presence of
the Orthodox in the diocese of Milan as "constructive". This offers another opportunity: for
the faithful to meet and share the beauty , goodness and truth of their
encounter with the Lord. "I think , in the last 30-40 years , there the
firm conviction of the indispensability of ecumenical dialogue has arisen among
all Christian denominations, encouraged by the current mixing of cultures"
said the cardinal, who would not be drawn on the possibility of a meeting
between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow, long overdue. "I'm
not a fortune teller", he joked , then added , citing the Gospel of St.
John: "One thing is clear , as Jesus said : ' That they may be one so that
the world may believe .'" "The
prospect of unification - he pointed out at a press conference ahead of his
intervention at the conference; "Identity, otherness, universality"
at the Orthodox St. John Chrysostom University - must be in the heart of every
Christian " .
many experts, it is not obvious that Putin's visit to Pope Francis may
facilitate the rapprochement between the two sister Churches . Indeed,
it is unclear whether the audience in the Vatican - not yet officially
confirmed by the Kremlin - was sought with the approval of the Moscow
Patriarchate , which has not yet commented on the possible significance of this
meeting . Of
course, Pope Francis and the head of the Russian state will talk about the
Middle East and the defense of Christians in the region, issues that they
already share in their joint battle for a political and diplomatic solution to
the Syrian crisis. Card. Scola
said he was "very happy " at the perspective meeting, defining Putin
as "a fundamental point of reference for the building of a new world order".
involved with the Oasis Foundation in interreligious dialogue, Scola also did
not rule out talking to Kirill about relations with Islam. 20
million Muslims live in Russia and the country is increasingly posing itself as
a bridge between East and West on the international stage . "I
do not know how the meeting with the Patriarch will develop - said the archbishop
of Milan - certainly dialogue with Islam is a very important common theme and I
always find it great sensitivity on the Orthodox side, and awareness of the
decisiveness of this
issue for the future not only of Europe but of the whole world". "The
number one problem is not dialogue, but deepening our knowledge of one another
in front of a current ignorance on both sides ," he concluded. ( M.A. )