30 September 2016
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    » 09/06/2010, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    Russian bishops conference: We can only grow in collaboration with the Orthodox



    This is the assertion of Fr.Kovalevsky, Secretary General of the Russian bishops' conference. In an interview, he gives an overview of common positions with the Orthodox Church and the problems of the Catholic community in Moscow. Papal trip to Moscow and the number of parishes in the capital.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - "The Catholic community in Russia is a minority and must cooperate with the Orthodox only then we'll be able to develop to the utmost. So, let's say we are interested in strong Orthodoxy". These are the words of the Secretary General of the Conference of Russian Catholic Bishops Fr. Igor Kovalevsky, interviewed by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper.

    In the interview the priest stresses the similarities rather than the differences between the two Churches: "We have almost the same teachings on many issues" and "the only thing that divides us is basically the role of the Pope, the bishop of Rome." The two communities, continues Fr Kovalevsky, have the same values and should protect them facing the challenges of modern secularism. For the priest, Europe today needs a re-evangelization after having lost its Christian roots, "It 'a very serious problem, the greatest challenge from contemporary European culture is its anti-religiosity, a front on which Benedict XVI has always been committed. Catholics - he added - are also having to disprove the stereotype that links Catholicism to contemporary Western culture, which instead tends to keep God out of society.

    On the age old question of a possible meeting between Pope and Patriarch of Moscow Kirill, Fr. Kovalevsky reiterates positions already expressed by the Russian Orthodox Church: "Neither Catholics nor Orthodox want the meeting to be mere protocol. And this is why, it is up to God to decide when this will be".

    In the interview another age-old problem also emerges; that of a lack of parishes in Moscow. Today in Russia most Catholics are concentrated in the capital, where - the secretary of the Bishops' Conference points out- two churches and a third under construction "are too few." In Moscow and its environs, there are about 50 thousand faithful, but there are fewer churches than those in St. Petersburg. "It 's our main problem in the capital - he says - until the 1917 Revolution there was the church of St. Ludwig and the parish of Saints Peter and Paul in Moscow. The latter was confiscated and a new place of worship, the church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, was erected, which today is our cathedral. The church of Saints Peter and Paul, unfortunately, was privatized and the courts gave legitimacy to this act". The majority of Catholics are not Russian citizens, but Polish, German or Lithuanian and celebrations are all in Russian. (NA)

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    See also

    12/01/2012 RUSSIA
    Only 1% of Orthodox actively involved in parish life
    A survey reveals that of about 15% of practicing believers only 1% are really active. Building vibrant communities is a major challenge for the Patriarchate.

    22/03/2012 UKRAINE - RUSSIA
    Greek-catholic Patriarch: Orthodox connivance with Stalin undermines our relations
    The Major Archbishop of Kiev, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, invites Russian Orthodox to recognize their complicity in the persecution of Catholics in the USSR. For the Moscow Patriarchate the Uniate situation is the biggest obstacle to the meeting between Kirill and Pope.

    17/10/2011 RUSSIA
    Thirteen new dioceses for the Russian Orthodox Church
    The Holy Synod approved the creation of new eparchies from Irkutsk to Kazakhstan. The restructuring of the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate continues, the largest reform since 1991.

    23/02/2015 UKRAINE - RUSSIA
    For Ukrainian Church, even the pope calls the conflict a civil war, something Kyiv does not acknowledge
    The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church press service appreciates the "shared position" with the Church of Rome on the conflict in eastern Ukraine. He attacks the government, wondering whether it will now accuse the pope of being a subversive and ban him from the country.

    08/02/2016 15:07:00 RUSSIA – VATICAN
    Notes on the Russian patriarch and Russian Church the pope will meet

    Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, whom the pope will meet in Cuba on 12 February, is transforming his communities by offering them younger bishops and a functioning curia with the Catholic Church as his model and Nikodim’s legacy as a precedent. The bureaucratisation and self-centredness are real risks.





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