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    » 09/03/2011, 00.00

    RUSSIA – VATICAN

    Moscow Patriarchate’s “non-interference” to a possible Serbian Orthodox invitation for the pope

    Nina Achmatova

    Metropolitan Hilarion reiterates Moscow’s position but, for months, rumours say the Russian Orthodox Church is opposed to Benedict XVI’s presence in Niš in 2013 to mark the anniversary of Constantine’s edict because it could provide an opportunity for a meeting between the Russian patriarch and the pontiff.
    Moscow (AsiaNews) – The Moscow Patriarchate is trying to stop the Serbian Orthodox Church from inviting Pope Benedict XVI to celebrations in 2013 marking the 1,700 years since Constantine’s edict, this according to international commentators, following an interview by the Serbian daily Politika with Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Patriarchate’s Department of External Church Relations.

    During their council in May, Serbian Church leaders discussed the possibility of inviting the pontiff to the event. For Serbian Orthodox, the issue is a thorny one, complicated by the pope’s recent visit to Croatia where he prayed on the grave of Card Aloysius Stepinac (1898 -1960). For many Serbs, that act was an insult because they view the Blessed as an accomplice of the Ustaše regime of Ante Pavelić.

    The official statement issued after the council indicated that the issue of Niš had been addressed but did not mention possible guests.

    Rapidly, some media reported that a month earlier, in April, during his trip to Serbia, Hilarion had expressed the Patriarchate’s opposition to an invitation to Benedict XVI.

    Celebrations are set to mark the anniversary of the Edict of Milan, issued by Constantine. The Roman Emperor, who was born in Niš, is remembered for ending religious persecutions and proclaiming the Roman Empire’s neutrality vis-à-vis all religions.

    As such, the event could provide an opportunity for a meeting between the pope and Kirill, patriarch of Moscow, who will certainly be present. This is why the Russian Orthodox Church wants to stop the Serbs. The Moscow Patriarchate wants in fact to decide when and where the two religious leaders should meet face to face.

    “It is an internal matter of the Serbian Patriarchate,” Metropolitan Hilarion said in the interview with Politika. “As far as I know, there is no single position on the papal invitation among Serbian Orthodox bishops, nor a single view about the meaning of the anniversary” as an historical event “for the representatives of the various Christian denominations or as an opportunity to express the brotherly unity of local Orthodox Churches.”

    For now, the Patriarchate’s official position is simply one of “non-interference”, at least until the Serbs make their final decision. (N.A.)
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    See also

    05/02/2016 18:30:00 RUSSIA – VATICAN
    For Russian Patriarchate, the “genocide of the Christian population” made the Kirill-Francis meeting urgent

    Metropolitan Hilarion told a press conference that despite unresolved issues such like the expansion of the Greek Catholic Patriarchate in Ukraine, the Moscow Patriarchate hopes that the meeting "will open a new page in the relations between the two Churches”.



    03/12/2007 RUSSIA – VATICAN
    Abolish Catholic dioceses and problems are solved, says Kirill
    The head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations wants the Catholic Church in Russia to turn back the clock to 2002.

    25/03/2008 RUSSIA - VATICAN
    Presented today in Moscow, Spe Salvi in Russian
    The ceremony which will take place in the “Library of the Spirit”, will be addressed by Catholic Archbishop Paolo Pezzi and Fr. Vladimir Shmalij, secretary of the of the Synod Theological Commission of the Orthodox Patriarchate.

    28/11/2007 CHINA – RUSSIA
    Russian patriarchate ready to train Chinese priests
    Metropolitan Kirill, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, confirmed Moscow’s willingness to provide theological training to priests from China’s 15,000-strong Orthodox community.

    09/02/2016 15:07:00 RUSSIA – VATICAN
    Sergei Chapnin: The Russian Orthodox Church in 2016, and its economic failures (Part Two)

    Like the rest of Russian society, the Church too is in recession, suffering from financial losses and bank closures. Problems afflict the monasteries of Trinity-St Sergius Lavra and St Daniel. Lack of financial transparency is an issue whilst parishes are reduced to poverty. A gap exists in the lifestyle of city and country priests.





    Editor's choices

    CUBA – VATICAN – ORTHODOX
    Francis-Kirill meeting in Cuba: “Finally! We are brothers. We have everything in common”



    The first meeting in centuries between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow took place in a relaxed and fraternal atmosphere. Two hours of private talks were followed by the signing of a Joint Declaration. As he thanked Raul Castro, the pope said, "If things continue like this, Cuba will be the capital of unity." Both leaders are committed to defending Christians around the world and support "the foundations of morality, the family and the person".


    VATICAN – CUBA – ORTHODOX
    Francis and Kirill: Orthodox and Catholics united vis-à-vis persecuted Christians and the secularised West



    In the Joint Declaration signed in Havana, the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow emphasise the world’s evils and the need for Christians to bear witness together. Both stand for the natural marriage of a man and a woman, the right to life, and the need for inter-faith dialogue. Both are saddened by the scandal of division, and jointly appeal for an end to religious persecution, for peace in Ukraine and for unity based on "tangible gestures." The full text of the Declaration follows.


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