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Russian prelate disputes role of Ecumenical Patriarch

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  • emrys@globe.net.nz
    Russian prelate disputes role of Ecumenical Patriarch http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=46837 Oct. 02 (CWNews.com) - The Russian Orthodox Church
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2006
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      Russian prelate disputes role of Ecumenical Patriarch

      http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=46837

      Oct. 02 (CWNews.com) - The Russian Orthodox Church has lodged a serious
      objection to the notion that the Patriarch of Constantinople is the
      worldwide leader of the Orthodox faith.

      Following up on a protest that he had lodged during meetings of the joint
      Catholic-Orthodox theological commission earlier this month, the Russian
      Orthodox Bishop Hilarion of Vienna told the Interfax news service that
      Catholics must not impose their model upon the Orthodox world.

      Bishop Hilarion said that the Moscow patriarchate welcomes further
      discussion on the question of whether the Catholic model-- with Church
      centered in Rome-- could be compatible with the Orthodox model of autonomous
      churches. However, he said, that discussion can continue only if "an
      ecclesiological model in which the Patriarch of Constantinople occupies the
      place of an ‘Eastern Pope’ is not imposed on the Orthodox Church."

      The Russian Orthodox prelate was reacting to a statement put forward during
      the 9th meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox theological commission. That
      statement said that after the schism of the 11th century it became
      impossible to hold an ecumenical council including all Christian leaders,
      but the separated churches "continued to hold ‘general’ councils, gathering
      together the bishops of local churches in communion with the See of Rome and
      the See of Constantinople."

      In the Orthodox world, Bishop Hilarion argued forcefully, the requirement of
      maintaining "communion with Constantinople" was never regarded as essential,
      as it is in the Catholic Church. While the Ecumenical Patriarch is
      recognized as the "first among equals," he said, the autocephalous Orthodox
      churches have different understandings of the nature of that role. "Some
      rather regard this primacy as purely honorary, while others give certain
      coordinating functions to the Patriarch of Constantinople and see him as
      highest court."

      The Orthodox understanding of primacy cannot be changed, the Moscow
      representative said, without a worldwide meeting of Orthodox leaders. He
      expressed resentment that Cardinal Walter Kasper (bio - news), the leading
      Catholic representative at meetings of the joint theological commission, had
      pressed for a vote on the disputed statement. Matters of doctrine, the
      Orthodox prelate said, should not be tested by majority vote.

      Cardinal Kasper has said that he was surprised by the Russian Orthodox
      objection to the proposed statement-- to which the Patriarchate of
      Constantinople had given its full support. But Bishop Hilarion told Interfax
      that the Moscow patriarchate would remain "hard-line" on the question.
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