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  • » 01/28/2009, 00.00


    Pope: joy over election of Kirill as patriarch of Moscow

    In a note, the pontifical council for the promotion of Christian unity stresses the "fraternal relations" with the new patriarch, and recalls the meetings between Kirill and Benedict XVI. From Moscow, Archbishop Pezzi speaks of "fraternal understanding."

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The "joy" of Benedict XVI for the election of Kirill as the new patriarch of Moscow. The pope expressed this personally today, at the end of the general audience. "It was with joy that I learned," he said, "of the election of metropolitan Kirill as the new patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. For him I invoke," he continued, "the light of the Holy Spirit, for generous service to the Russian Orthodox Church, entrusting him to the special protection of the Mother of God."

    On December 6 of last year, Benedict XVI expressed his "deep emotion" over the death of Alexy II, and affirmed his "spiritual closeness" to the entire Russian Orthodox Church, speaking of the "common commitment to the journey of mutual comprehension and collaboration between Orthodox and Catholics," and recalling "the deceased patriarch's efforts for the rebirth of the Church, after the harsh ideological oppression that caused the martyrdom of so many witnesses to the Christian faith."

    Today, also from the Vatican, the pontifical council for the promotion of Christian unity hailed the election of Kirill, recalling the "fraternal relations" in place with him "for many years," and the meetings that the metropolitan, as head of external relations for the patriarchate, had with Benedict XVI "immediately after his election in April of 2005, and then again during the months of May 2006 and December 2007."

    "We trust," says a note from the Vatican dicastery, "that we will be able to continue the common journey of reconciliation that we have begun." "We certainly do not want," the document continues, "to lose sight of the difficulties that remain, but we are willing and ready to cooperate in the social and cultural fields in order to bear witness to Christian values, without forgetting that the ultimate aim of dialogue is the realization of the testament of Jesus Christ, our Lord, meaning the full communion of all of his disciples." "We hope and we pray," the statement concludes, "that God may give the new patriarch abundant blessings, and guide him with the gift of strength and wisdom."

    Paolo Pezzi, archbishop of the archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, also speaks of "relations of fraternal understanding" in a message sent to the new patriarch. "I firmly hope," he writes, "that the relations of mutual fraternal understanding, trust, and collaboration that have been developed between our Churches, over the years of service of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy of beloved memory, may be developed and deepened further. In order for this to happen," he continues, "for our part, we are willing to do everything that depends on us. "I pray," Archbishop Pezzi concludes," that the service of the newly elected patriarch, with the help of divine grace, may serve to reinforce in the faithful their faith and devotion, including for the good and development of the entire Russian people and its state."

    Finally, a curious fact. In December of 2007, Kirill had proposed abolishing all of the Catholic dioceses in Russia, as a first step to resolving the problems in the relationship between the Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow. "We will never recognize them," he said in this regard, "and we will always contest the presence of normal Catholic dioceses in Russian territory, and we consider this a challenge to our common idea, connected to the territorial principle of the ecclesiastical administrations." And in recent days, in an interview with the newspaper Trud, Kirill stated that "the [future] patriarch and the pope will not meet until there is progress on the issues that constitute problems in our relations."

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    See also

    06/12/2008 RUSSIA - VATICAN
    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.

    05/12/2008 VATICAN - RUSSIA
    Alexy II, hope and obstacle in dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox
    The Vatican is paying homage to the work of the patriarch, who "in a period of great change" made the Russian Orthodox Church capable of "facing the challenges of transition from the Soviet era to the present one," and is recalling his "personal commitment" to relations with Catholics.

    26/11/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: consequences disastrous of faith not embodied in love
    A general audience marked by ecumenism, with the presence of Aram I, catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians. Joint effort for full unity. Benedict XVI speaks to the faithful of the relationship between faith and works.

    23/01/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: The world wants to see "the face of God", but only in unity can Christians display it
    Benedict XVI's address for the general audience is dedicated to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In the 100 years since its institution, Christians have established friendly relations and theological dialogue, but above all they have learned to pray together for the return to full communion.

    04/02/2009 TURKEY
    Bartholomew I: may Kirill's election foster common journey of Orthodox Churches
    The Ecumenical Patriarchate now expects an acceleration in the common journey toward the long-awaited grand pan-Orthodox synod.

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