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Catholic priest seeks peace with Orthodox

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2 4:02 PM
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      Catholic priest seeks peace with Orthodox
      Portal-credo.ru, 1 March 2004

      The rector of the Nizhny Novgorod Catholic parish of the Assumption of the
      Most Holy Virgin Mary, Fr Mario Beverati, held a meeting with Bishop of
      Nizhegorod and Arzamas Georgii Danilov, where the parties discussed the
      situation surrounding the construction of a Catholic convent in the city,
      Blagovest-info reports.

      According to the chief of protocol of the head of the Nizhegorod diocese,
      Andrei Milkin, the Catholic priest acknowledged that such plans have
      actually been discussed. However, as Fr Mario Beverati gave assurances, if
      the Orthodox bishop is opposed, then they can be "repudiated."

      The meeting between Fr Beverati and Bishop Georgii was held soon after the
      Nizhny Novgorod diocese distributed an official statement sharply attacking
      the initiative of the Roman Catholic church.

      The parties also touched on the question of how the two-story building
      constructed by the Catholics in the microdistrict of Verkhnie Pechory will
      be used in the future. The head of the press service of the Nizhegorod
      diocese, Fr Igor Pchelintsev, noted that in the situation that has
      developed the Russian Orthodox church "does not possess the possibility of
      insisting on a unilateral closing of the already constructed convent." But
      now, he said, confirmation has been received that in the future the rector
      of the Catholic parish will coordinate actions "on the question of the
      opening of the convent" with the Nizhny Novgorod diocese.

      Meanwhile one of the leading scholars of religion in the region, docent of
      the Nizhny Novgorod Pedagogical University, Igor Simonov, put the blame for
      the tension between Orthodox and Catholics on the city administration, In
      an interview with the Nizhegorod Telegraph Agency he stated that the
      Catholic parish has no obligation to coordinate its actions with the
      Nizhegorod diocese, but municipal agencies should have thought through
      matters thoroughly before allotting to Catholics a land parcel for
      construction. The conflict on religious bases could have been foreseen,
      since relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches
      have always been tense. As Igor Simonov states, in confessional policy it
      is necessary to proceed from the interests of public calm and reality, "and
      the reality is that the leading confession on the territory of Russia is
      the Russian Orthodox church."

      In the expert's opinion, the local authorities underestimate the complexity
      and acuteness of interconfessional problems, of which the abolition of the
      Department for Relations with the Public and Interconfessional Relations
      from the city administration serves as an example. The same fate befell a
      Department for Relations with Public and Religious Organizations. Now the
      Department of Culture is responsible for such relations, "a structure which
      deals with recreation, dancing, and movie theaters." Igor Simonov noted
      that he has known Fr Mario Beverati for a long time and he gave assurances
      that he values highly relations with the Russian Orthodox church. This is
      shown in the way the rector of the Catholic parish regularly participates
      in Orthodox processions of the cross. Such a thing is rare for Catholics.
      (tr. by PDS, posted 1 March 2004)

      Portal-credo.ru, 1 March 2004

      Nizhny Novgorod Mayor Vadim Bulavinov spoke out on Friday, 27 February,
      against the creation of a Catholic convent in a private home, NTA-Privolzhe

      He clarified that the head of the Catholic parish, Fr Mario, bought a
      parcel of ground and a partially constructed cottage for the convent in the
      Verkhnie Pechory district, where according to construction plans private
      homes will be erected. In the mayor's opinion, the organization of a
      convent in the city should be coordinated with the city administration and
      the head of the department of architecture of the city. He added that in
      any case city authorities will not grant Catholics permission "to transform
      a house into a dormitory."

      Vadim Bulavinov recalled that the administration gave permission for the
      construction of a Catholic church on Gorky Street, and for now the
      Catholics should be satisfied with this. "Meanwhile, an Orthodox church is
      not given land in Italy; it was built on the grounds of the Russian
      embassy. Why do they treat other religions in this way in the West and we
      should treat them differently?" the mayor noted.

      As noted in the Nizhegorod newspaper "City and Citizens," on 22 February
      when the population observed Maslenitsa and Forgiveness Sunday, the heads
      of the Nizhny Novgorod diocese and the Catholic parish met and asked one
      another for forgiveness. Father Mario, the head of Nizhegorod Catholics,
      assured the Nizhny diocese that the opening of a convent will be suspended,
      although they intended to bring in only two or three nuns. It seems that it
      was for these two nuns from Lithuania and England that a house of 1,000
      square meters was built, reporters for the paper noted.

      There is no official permission for the construction of a monastery; all of
      Fr Mario's documents were drawn up for the construction of an ordinary
      private home. To reporters' questions about what will be done with the
      house, Father Mario declared surprisingly, "Really should there be a parish
      or a convent there? No, it will be simply a home." It is not clear what
      will become of the just completed house, although its intended residents
      now do not want to come to Nizhny Novgorod because of such opposition, Fr
      Mario said. The Nizhny Novgorod diocese, in its turn, hopes for a peaceful
      end to the affair. (tr. by PDS, posted 1 March 2004)
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