» 02/02/2009, 00.00
VATICAN – RUSSIA
Pope tells Kirill he hopes for Catholic-Orthodox cooperation towards communion
Benedict XVI sends the new patriarch of Moscow a chalice as a token of his desire to see the two sides “reach full communion soon.” The papal message also mentions Kirill’s “outstanding role” in forging a “new relationship” between the two Churches.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In his message to Kirill, the new Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, on the occasion of his enthronement, Benedict XVI expressed his hope for Christian reunification and further rapprochement between Catholics and Russian Orthodox.
The message was delivered by Card Walter Kasper, chairman of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, who led a Vatican delegation to Moscow. The cardinal also brought a chalice as a token of the Pope’s desire to “reach full communion soon.”
Benedict XVI, who had expressed his best wishes to the new patriarch right after his election, reiterated in the message “my esteem and my spiritual closeness”, readily recalling the meetings he had with the patriarch when he chaired the Patriarchate’s Department of External Church Relations.
“[Y]ou yourself played an outstanding role in forging a new relationship between our Churches,” wrote the Pope, “a relationship based on friendship, mutual acceptance and sincere dialogue in facing the difficulties of our common journey. It is my earnest hope that we will continue to cooperate in finding ways to foster and strengthen communion in the Body of Christ, in fidelity to our Saviour’s prayer that all may be one, so that the world may believe (cf Jn, 17:21).
“You,” the message went on to say, “are now the successor of our beloved brother of revered memory, His Holiness Aleksij II, who left his people a deep and abiding inheritance of ecclesial renewal and development, as he led the Russian Orthodox Church out of the long and difficult period of suffering under the totalitarian and atheistic system to a new, active presence and service in today’s society. Patriarch Aleksij II worked assiduously for the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church and for communion with the other Orthodox Churches. He likewise maintained a spirit of openness and cooperation with other Christians, and with the Catholic Church in particular, for the defence of Christian values in Europe and in the world. I am certain that Your Holiness will continue to build on this solid foundation, for the good of your people and for the benefit of Christians everywhere.”
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Cardinal Kasper reads Pope Benedict XVI's message to the assembly of the World Religious Summit. The Pope's visit to Russia is not yet on the agenda.
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Alexy II: pope expresses condolences
Remembering the figure of the deceased Orthodox patriarch, Benedict XVI hopes that his memory will be "an encouragement for those who will benefit from his spiritual legacy." Condolences also from the Russian Catholic world, and bishops Werth and Pezzi. The funeral of Alexy II is scheduled for December 9, and Cardinals Kasper and Etchegaray are expected to attend from Rome. The date of the synod for the election of his successor will be made known following the ceremony.
Synod to elect new Moscow patriarch set for late January
Synod will take place on 28 and 29 January. On 1 February the new head of the Russian Orthodox Church will be announced. Kirill and Kliment are among the candidates. The latter is seen favourably by Russia’s political elites.
Vote for new Moscow Patriarch set for tomorrow; three candidates running, Kirill favoured
Kliment of Kaluga and Filaret of Minsk are also in the race. Tomorrow’s election will include representatives of men and women religious as well as lay people from around the world.
Pope tells young people to remember the past, to have courage in the present and hope for the future
The Message for the 32nd World Youth Day was issued today centred on “The ‘great things’ that the Almighty accomplished’.” In her meeting with Elizabeth, Mary becomes a model. The pontiff calls on young people to avoid being couch potatoes, safe and cosy, urges them to rediscover the relationship with seniors. The Church experience is not a flash mob. The future should be experienced in a constructive way, and “the institutions of marriage, consecrated life and priestly mission” should not be devalued.
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