» 11/13/2013 RUSSIA - VATICAN Moscow Patriarchate and Vatican revive joint collaboration Intensified exchanges between the leaders of the two churches, two weeks from Putin's expected visit to the Pope. Kirill meets Card. Scola: " Never before have we had so many things in common." The archbishop of Milan speaks of "ecumenism of the people". Metropolitan Hilarion meets Bergoglio: we are working on a meeting between Pope and Patriarch of Moscow, in neutral territory.
- These are days of intensified exchanges between the leaders of the Catholic
Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, who have both revived collaboration on issues
of mutual interest such as the rights of Christians in the Middle East, the
fight against secularism in the West and ecumenical dialogue. This two-weeks
from to the much anticipated visit to theVatican by the Russian President ,
Vladimir Putin, whose policies in the Middle East , especially in Syria, go
hand in hand with the battles promoted by the Orthodox Patriarchate and have
found an unexpected ally in the Pope. Some
claim that the event would contribute to a further rapprochement between the
two sister Churches, which, however, deny there is a need for a "
political mediation" in this sense .
were the words of theArchbishop of Milan, Card. Angelo
Scola following his meeting with Kirill, 12 November , in Moscow. At
the same meeting , the Patriarch expressed his appreciation for the work of
Pope Francis , noting that " never before have our Churches had so many
things in common." "Our
historical disagreements cease to play a critical role", was the hope
expressed by the Orthodox primate, to which Scola responded saying that
ecumenical dialogue "has never hidden the differences, but it is able to
overcome them by affirming our shared values," referring
to an "ecumenism of the people" already tangible in exchanges between
the two communities in the diocese as that of Milan .
environment of openness and friendliness is also enhanced by the words of the
Head of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate , Metropolitan of
Volokolamsk Hilarion , who announced on December 12 that talks were underway about
the possibility of a " meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of
Moscow in a neutral country . " Speaking
at a news conference after his meeting with the Pope, Hilarion added no more details.
the place and timing of the historic face to face there are only assumptions
and rumors. The
most reliable see the city of Bari, where there is a strong Orthodox presence as
a possibility, but also Vienna or the abbey of Pannonhalma, Hungary. Ecclesiastical
circles in Moscow indicate as a likely date 2014, marking the 50th anniversary
of the historic 'embrace' in Jerusalem between Paul VI and the Patriarch of
Constantinople, Athenagoras. An
event which one year later , led to the joint statement erasing the mutual
excommunications of nearly one thousand years before.
also did not want to comment on Putin's visit to the Vatican, scheduled for
November 25 , but still not confirmed by the Kremlin. "This
is a visit of the head of state , which does not affect the relations between
the Churches", he noted. "We
are very grateful to President Putin for the positions he takes on issues of
European Christian heritage and values and the defense of Christians in the
Middle East - he concluded - a theme that will surely be discussed at the
later this month the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family,
Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, will travel to Moscow to speak at a conference
organized by the Orthodox community . ( M.A. )