Asia News: / 1 September, 2004
RUSSIA - VATICAN
Orthodox Church hopes for more meetings in Moscow and Rome after icon's
Moscow (AsiaNews) - "The return of the icon of Kazan is a happy
event for us Orthodox," said Bishop Mark, Deputy President of the
Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow
Patriarchate. "We hope that other such events can take place in
Moscow and Rome to underscore the positive nature of our
relations and dispel any negative conjectures made in the press,"
he added. Bishop Mark also said that a passage in the Patriarch's
letter to the Pope states that good relations between the Russian
Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church should lead both to
"preach Christian values in a secular society".
Another Orthodox leader, Fr John Lapidus, stressed the special
significance of the Patriarch's letter to the Pope for future
Orthodox-Catholic relations. He said that for the first time the
Patriarch was confident in the Vatican's good will. "I believe,"
Father Lapidus said, "that the decision by the Catholic Church to
hand over the icon is proof of its sincere wish to overcome
difficulties that exist between our two Churches, who are called
upon to overcome the negative consequences of the 20th century."
Against the wishes of the government of Tatarstan, Aleksij II,
Patriarch of Moscow, decided last Saturday to keep the icon of
Kazan in his private chapel. The Patriarch said that conditions in
Kazan are such that the icon cannot yet be kept there in a dignified
In Soviet times Bogoroditsky monastery, which previously housed
the image, was used as a tobacco-processing plant. The
monastery's church, which held the icon, now houses the National
University of Education.
Whilst Kazan's mayor has promised to return the buildings to the
monastery, Patriarch Aleksij II said that until such time that the
monastery and the church are not renovated the icon will remain in
his private chapel. (AF)
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