Orthodox flock of Rome: hopes are high for the new Pope
Mar 16, 2013
The Russian Orthodox parish in Rome has high hopes for cooperation
and dialogue with the new Pope Francis, Father Antoni Sevruk, rector
of the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Catherine the Great Martyr
in Rome, told the Voice of Russia.
The Saint Catherine Church at the Russian Embassy is a ten-minute walk
from the Holy See and enjoys the warmest ties with its Catholic
neighbors, says Father Antoni.
"I had a chance to meet with former Pope Benedict XVI a couple of times,
and I particularly remember our last meeting when Benedict asked me a
lot about our Church and community, social and charity work. I saw that
he was really into it. Actually, the windows of his study overlooked the
Saint Catherine Church."
Recently, the number of Orthodox communities has grown in Italy and now
they account for about 60.
The country doesn't have that many Orthodox churches but Catholic
priests are always happy to provide a venue for Orthodox services.
Now Orthodox believers are a little bit concerned about potential
changes linked to the new Pope.
Francis is said to read Dostoevsky and has often visited Orthodox
services in the Russian Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral in Buenos Aires.
The Pontiff is also known as an advocate of the Orthodox Church in
Argentine's government, says Father Antoni.
"People are now anticipating the Pope's first homily scheduled for
Sunday. Sure, we need time get to know the new Pope better. We have
every hope that he will continue Benedict's polices in terms of
interreligious dialogue." (end)
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk will head the delegation of the
Moscow Patriarchate at the enthronement of the Pope Francis. The
ceremony is scheduled for March 19.
On March 20, the new Pontiff will meet his guests from the Moscow
*Pope Francis to visit predecessor Benedict XVI on March 23
Pope Francis will visit his predecessor Benedict XVI on March 23 for the
first time since his election, the Vatican said on Saturday.
The new pope, former Argentinian cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, will
travel by helicopter to the papal summer residence Castel Gandolfo where
Benedict has been staying since his historic resignation last month.
The two men will have lunch together at the residence outside Rome, the
Vatican said.Benedict, 85, last month became the first pope to resign
for 700 years when he ended his eight-year reign saying he was no longer
up to the rigours of the job.
Francis was a surprise choice in this week's conclave triggered by
Benedict's resignation.The two men know each other well. Bergoglio, 76,
is believed to have been runner-up to the German in the 2005 election.
'I took the name of Francis of Assisi' -- Pope Francis
Pope Francis says that at the conclave that made him Pontiff he rejected
a choice of proposed names and named himself after Francis of Assisi,
who was a great champion of the poor and peace.
He spoke about this at an audience with some 5,000 international
reporters held at the Vatican on Saturday.
His Holiness also said that one of the cardinals at the conclave
specifically urged him to mind the world's poor.
Ahead of the audience, the Vatican's press service said the Pope sees
the media as an instrument of evangelization.
Voice of Russia, AFP, TASS
Pope Francis perceived as conservative
Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio is now Pope Francis I.
He is also the first Jesuit on the papal throne and the first Pontiff
from the Americas. Rumours whirl around, backed by a certain amount of
anecdotal evidence, that during Argentina's military dictatorship in the
late 1970s and early 80s he surrendered two slum-going Jesuit priests,
Father Orlando Yorio and Father Francisco Jalics, to the military
authorities. Archbishop Bergoglio is on record as dismissing these
rumours and saying he offered the two priests shelter instead. All
remember, however, that Argentina's Roman Catholic Church urged its
flock 'to show patriotism' as terror reigned.
We have an opinion from Associate Professor Vladislav Petrushko of
Moscow's Orthodox Institute of St Tikhon:
"Accusations of the kind leveled at Pope Francis are more often than not
simple allegations. The Church does not exist in a vacuum. Like it or
not, it has to build a relationship with the state. Many call this
relationship 'collaboration'. In each case, however, it is important to
find out whether this collaboration amounted to condoning crimes against
humanity or simply helped the Church and its flock to survive. I do not
believe that Archbishop Bergoglio was involved in atrocities committed
by Argentina's military regime."
Another important point in the controversy surrounding the new Pontiff
is his perceived conservatism. In recent years, he staunchly opposed
same-sex marriage, arbitrary sex change and the more radical aspects of
feminism. Accordingly, President Nestor Kirchner and his successor
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner listed the Archbishop among their
political opponents. The only point of agreement between Mrs de Kirchner
and Archbishop Bergoglio was their shared militancy against abortion.
The new Pontiff is also known for his moderation in all aspects and
strict austerity. Many hope this will return the Church to its origins,
make Roman Catholic hierarchs role models and restore respect and
authority to the Vatican.
Russian Catholics welcome Pope Francis as new 'rudder of faith'
On Thursday, the catholic churches in Russia served thanksgiving
liturgies marking the election of Pope Francis. In Moscow in the
cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary the
liturgy was served by Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Mother of God in Moscow Pavel Pezzi.
On Thursday night the atmosphere in the cathedral Immaculate Conception
of the Holy Virgin Mary in Moscow is almost intimate. In the end of a
working day there are only a few believers at the ceremony. The priests
in snow white vestments, which are worn on solemn occasions, are calling
on believers to pray for Pope Francis. Catholics are only beginning to
get accustomed to this new name. For most of them Jorge Mario Bergoglio
is still a stranger. Nevertheless many believers already consider him as
their Pope and believe he is the one the Roman Catholic Church needs
today. "I am sure that under him my church will become better", Artyom,
one of the churchgoers, says
"I never heard of him before but I have read that he is modest and
humble of heart, a priest who is devoted to his mission with reasonable
degree of conservatism. I think that he is an example for our whole
church and I hope that the new Pope will be a good "rudder" leading our
ship directly to God without deviating from the course."
Today the entire catholic world is watching every step and every word of
the new Pope. But first impressions are really good, Father Peter, a
Catholic priest from Slovakia says.
"I heard of him before. I know that he is very simple, open to people
and lives simply, even low. But he is very intelligent and educated. My
first impression is very good. For example right after his election when
he blessed the believers who gathered in St Peter Square in the Vatican
city he was offered a special car to go back to the hotel but he refused
and said that he would return to Rome together with other cardinals. He
also checked out from the hotel, paid for his room and carried his
luggage without allowing anyone to help him. These are very important
things that prove that he will be a good Pontific."
The relations between the Russian Orthodox church and the Catholic
church will become warmer, Kirill Gorbunov head of the press service of
the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mother of God in Moscow says.
"The process of convergence of our Churches is going on independently
from any concrete persons. The relations between the Orthodox and
Catholic churches are not a question of virtues and shortcomings of its
members, whatever the roles of the Pontific or the Moscow Patriarch are.
It is rather a matter of fate, of our church's destiny, reverential
trust. Because this is God's will. Nevertheless, I am confident that
Pope Francis will take steps towards our unity."
On Thursday, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has congratulated
Pope Francis on his election as the new head of the Roman Catholic
Church and expressed hope for cooperation. The patriarch said both
Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics should unite forces to defend
fellow believers in countries where they are persecuted, and to affirm
traditional moral values in the modern secular world.
'The new Pope may proclaim another crusade'
In an interview with the Voice of Russia, editor-in-chief of the German
satirical magazine "Titanic" Leo Fisher expressed his special opinion on
the election of the Argentine cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the new Pope.
- I am very much pleased with this election, although the choice of the
cardinals was a surprise to me. Pope Francis is interesting for us
because he has German roots and studied in Freiburg. That is, we have a
common reference point. And he is of a very pleasing appearance. He
resembles Oliver Hardy of the "Laurel and Hardy" series. In general, I
like him. I think that we will successfully cooperate with him.
- And will your magazine make fun of him like you do with other priests?
- "Titanic" is a German satirical magazine. We react to whatever is of
interest to the German public; if he is spoken about, and there are some
conflicting opinions, we will pay attention to him. However, in
comparison with Benedict XVI he is much farther from us. We have little
in common with Argentina. We do not know that country very well. But the
fact that he was related to the military dictatorship is just wonderful.
I think it will cause glorification. I can imagine that he will go down
in history as the first military Pope. And Germany is heavily dependent
on the export of weapons. And, perhaps, he shall proclaim another
crusade. It has been a long time since the Vatican organized a war. It
is possible that Francis could take care of it.
- Sometimes your material is rather audacious. Where are the boundaries
- We do not really know, but we constantly think about this. After all,
good lawyers are very expensive today. Nevertheless, we publish
materials, hoping it will turn out all right somehow. If our material
hurt someone's feelings in any way, we immediately apologize. We are
acting in good faith. And we manage to calm people down. For example,
last year, Benedict XVI filed a lawsuit on our "Titanic" magazine. But
at the last moment he took it back. But it cost us an enormous amount of
effort. We explained to the Pope that his photo on the cover, which in
fact was the cause of the fuss, had nothing offensive in it. We
explained the essence of this image to the Pope. In most cases the
complaints are due to misunderstandings. And for the most part, when we
resolve misunderstandings, nobody is hurt.
When the Voice of Russia talked with Leo Fisher on the eve of the
election of the Pope, he had other preferences:
"I like the Archbishop of Berlin Rainer Maria Woelki. We especially like
the fact that he looks funny. This is a cross between the ageing Harry
Potter and a big screech-owl. We like him very much, too. He likes to
communicate with children, he communicates with clergyman on YouTube and
gives interviews," Leo Fisher said then.
Argentina's Jorge Bergoglio elected 266th Catholic Pope (PHOTOS)
Pope says Benedict's resignation was 'courageous' act
Pope Francis on Friday hailed predecessor Benedict XVI's historic
resignation as a "courageous and humble act" in a speech to cardinals in
Francis said Benedict, who stepped down last month, had "lit a flame in
the depth of our hearts that will continue to burn".
Undivided love made Pope Francis a priest
Pope Francis' childhood sweetheart claimed that he devoted his life to
God after she refused to marry him when she was 12 years old. Moreover,
he never wanted to be a priest.
Amalia Damonte, 77, said that when she was 12 years old, Jorge Bergoglio
shoved a letter into her hand declaring his undying love. "He wrote me a
letter telling me that one day he would like to marry me. He said that
if I didn't say yes, he would have to become a priest. Luckily for him,
I said no!", the woman added.
Meanwhile, the new pontiff's sister, María Elena Bergoglio, said that he
neither wanted to become the head of the Catholic Church nor to be pope
and now he faces a lifetime of "infinite loneliness".
"He didn't want to be pope and when we chatted privately about it, we
joked at the prospect and he would say 'no, please no'," she added.
Although Miss Bergoglio admitted that "having a brother who is a pope is
a blessing from God". She also noted that her brother was pleased with
his new role by his reaction on television. "The expression on his face
spoke of a fullness of heart," she added.
Voice of Russia, AFP
Enthronement on the day of St Giuseppe
Pope Francis visited one of the major basilicas of the Eternal City, the
church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Arriving at the temple early in the
morning on Thursday, the newly elected Bishop of Rome immediately went
to the chapel of the Paolini Basilica where the famous icon of the
Salvation of the Roman people is located, one which is especially
treasured by the residents of the Eternal City.
Meanwhile the Vatican is preparing for the enthronement of the new Pope.
Plans for the next few days in Rome and details about the upcoming
ceremony were told to the Voice of Russia in an exclusive interview with
Vatican expert Catherine Santoni-Sinitsyna.
The enthronement ceremony is scheduled for March 19. But in the
remaining days no less important matters await Jorge Mario Bergoglio
says Catherine Santoni-Sinitsyna: "I was in the press center of the
Vatican, and spoke with their Press Secretary Father Federico Lombardi
about the coming days. Tomorrow mass will be held in the Sistine Chapel
for all of the cardinals who took part in the conclave. On Saturday at
11 am in the auditorium of Paul the 6th, Pope Francis will meet with
social workers and journalists. Tuesday will be an unusual day. On March
19 the Feast of St. Giuseppe will be celebrated and on St. Peter's
Square the first public mass will be held which will be followed by the
The ceremony will be held according to the customs of the 1970s of the
last century during the time of Pope Paul the Reformer.
Pope Paul I, overturned the dogma that the Pope is God's representative
on earth. Since the the Pope is the vicar of St. Peter, the first Pope.
At that point the coronation of the Pope and the donning of the papal
tiara, was cancelled said Catherine Santoni-Sinitsyna. She added: "The
modern enthronement will be held on St. Peter's Square. The first to go
through this ceremony was Pope John Paul the 1st. How is it carried out?
By the the placing of the pallium on the new Pope's shoulders as an
expression of obedience to the Cardinals, the receiving of the Ring of
the Fisherman. At the end of the enthronement the Pope must welcome all
of the guests and delegations, which include government officials."
Among those who will greet Pope Francis, will be a delegation from the
Russian Orthodox Church, headed by the Chairman of the Department for
External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion.
76-year-old Argentine Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario
Bergoglio was elected head of the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday
night. This followed a two-day conclave, in which there were five votes.
Pope Francis succeeds Pope Benedict XVI who resigned.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]