03/05/2008, 00.00
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Moscow Patriarchate says no to ecumenical prayers

by A. Pirogov
Number two in the Department for External Church Relations urges Orthodox not to pray with members of other confessions, adding that “nowadays no one speaks seriously about reunification”.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – It is better for Orthodox believers not to pray with those of other denominations, Rev Vsevolod Chaplin, deputy chief of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, told the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta in its ‘Religion’ supplement.

Stressing that this was “his own private opinion,” Fr Vsevolod said that “visiting Protestant and Catholic churches, taking part in religious functions by other confessions or praying before relics considered holy by all Christians are acceptable. But it is better for Orthodox to avoid praying in public or private with the faithful of other confessions.”

He noted that he personally has never prayed with representatives of other denominations; Russian Orthodox delegates to the World Council of Churches (WCC) also have never prayed with others.

For the archpriest when it comes to inter-confessional dialogue “nowadays no one speaks seriously about reunification being near. Almost all of Russia is against such prayers.”

Asked about the WCC, Chaplin said that “the WCC’s aim at reunification is increasingly distant” but that the organisation’s social role in domains like ecology, globalisation, international conflict and the place of religion in contemporary society remains valid.”  


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