Orthodox effort for fidelity in a changed world

Milan (AsiaNews) – From Jan. 18-25 a week of prayer will be celebrated for unity among Christians.  During the ecumenical month par excellence, Mondo e Mission (World and Mission), the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Mission's monthly magazine, is publishing a special report edited by Giuseppe Caffulli, entitled "Orthodox Church at the Crossroads".

The report has one particularity: It does not trace for the umpteenth time the problem of relations between the Vatican and the Patriarchate of Moscow (which for at least 2 years now have been greatly strained and difficult), but highlights problems and challenges that Russian Church's mission must face in a society that is largely de-christianized and has fallen quickly into a savage form neo-capitalism.  

The Jan. 2004 issue of Mondo e Missione contains signed contributions for ecumenicalists, theologians, Orthodox Church historians who tell about the many "crossroads" and the many open issues that Russian Church must confront: tradition vs. modernity; its commitments in the world; its relation with other Churches; and inter-religious dialog.

Biblical scholar and teacher in Moscow, Andrei Desnitskij, speaks about a multi-religious and multiethnic Russian society in which is there is an urgent need for dialog with Buddhism and Islam. Vladimir Zelinskij traces the "identikit" of Orthodox faithful, recording their openness and resistance to a road toward ecumenicalism.

The number two man in the Moscow Patriarchate, metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk, re-launches the Russian Churche's commitment toward Christian unity, even if there are many difficulties still to overcome between Catholics and Orthodox, above all in terms of the "proselytism".

Russian Church History professor in Canada, Dimitry Pospielovskij, speaks about the medicine needed to heal Orthodoxy's current wounds, as it must chip away at 70 years of encrustations laid by the Bolshevik regime and deal with many forms of fundamentalist decay.