08/31/2017, 10.37
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Kirill’s encyclical on the 100th anniversary of the Patriarchate. Join Christians in Russia and the world

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Two centuries after its suppression by Peter the Great, the Patriarchate was restored in 1917. The resumption of Church reform. Social media for reading the Bible. Overcome divisions, even with Catholics. Former Ambassador to the Holy See: Ensuring a Living Space for Christians.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - An encyclical letter from the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev) was published in Russia in recent days on the occasion of the centenary of the Moscow Council of 1917-1918. This Council restored the Russian Patriarchate two centuries after its abolition by the Peter the Great. It should be noted that the restoration occurred during the days of the Revolution.

The leader of Russian orthodoxy warns that the events of that council "were not comprehended to the full, even though a century has passed ... Many of the ideas that were expressed then would be useful and necessary even today." The studies on the Council have resumed in recent years, and an important scientific edition of the documents it adopted is underway. This will include many materials on the long pre-conciliar preparation, in that very lively and fruitful decade of Russian culture and orthodoxy that is remembered with the title of "Silver Century."

In his letter, the patriarch explains that the present structure of the Patriarchate has been reformed, recalling the conciliar phase when a body called the Pre-Conciliary Presence, a special "congregation of the Synod" was formed. The current Patriarchal Curia of Moscow was renamed Inter-Conciliar Presence for some years, to revive the communitarian spirit in ecclesiastical life.

According to Kirill, today the issues that were left unresolved due to the revolution and the subsequent civil war, which led to the establishment of the Soviet regime can now be re-addressed. Such as, for example, the horizontal or "reconciling" (in Russian soborn) of the parish by the clergy and laity, the liturgical reform and the language of the celebrations, the unification of the monastic statutes, the relationship between the white clergy "(Uxorato) and monastic clergy, and many other issues related to pastoralism, catechesis, the teaching of theology and biblical culture.

Spreading the Bible on social media

Regarding the dissemination of the Bible, an important initiative was taken by the Missionary Office of the Diocese of the Province of Moscow, called The Bible in a year. The purpose is to provide help in reading and studying Sacred Scripture, using the most popular communication tools today. From 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2018, you can subscribe to one of the "thematic groups" open on Facebook, Telegram or the Russian social network VKontakte, where you will find daily information needed to read and discuss the chosen passages of the Bible in web -seminars.

In addition to resurrecting memories of the Council, Patriarch Kirill has been at the forefront of other symbolic gestures to educate the faithful to rediscover the "conciliar" spirit of Russian Orthodoxy. Visiting the Smolensk region, on August 30 he consecrated a new church in honor of the Palestinian martyr St. George "the victorious". The next day, the Patriarch blessed a monument to a Prince of Ancient Russia, Vladimir Monomakh, who addressed other Russian princes with a famous "Ammonimento", in Smolensk in 1147 urging them to overcome the internal divisions in order to avoid being overwhelmed by the invading peoples who were pushing on the borders of the young Slav-Eastern state. He was not listened to until the ancient Rus was wiped out by the hordes of Genghis Khan.

Also in the last days of August, the III International Christian Forum was held in Moscow on the theme of the defense of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. More than 200 delegates from Russia, the Middle East and Europe participated in the Forum, including Catholic and Protestant delegates. The forum assessed the development of humanitarian aid programs for Christians subjected to violence and "genocide" in the areas of war on Islamic terrorism, and also the theoretical perspectives of an anti-globalist policy around which to bring the whole Christian world together. Thanks to the initiative of the Russian Orthodox.

The aftereffects of the  meeting with Card. Parolin

As seen in Cardinal Parolin's visit to Moscow, the intensification of contacts with the Vatican is also aimed at fostering a universal union of Christians against the threats of the modern world. This was further underlined by the former Russian ambassador to the Holy See, Vyacheslav Kostikov in an interview with the Russian magazine Argumenty i Fakty. In it he states that "the contemporary tendency of the religious phenomenon leads to a prevalence of Islam on Christianity." Kostikov recalled the aggressive policies of Turkey in appeals to Turkish residents in Germany and Europe, who are likely to destabilize the continent, sustaining a progressive Islamization of European society. That is why, concludes the diplomat, "in the current conditions, the center of relations between Catholics and Orthodox, and especially between Moscow and the Vatican, more than the differences of opinion must be the problem of the defense of the common space of Christianity ".

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