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Patriarch of Constantinople Proposes Eastern Catholicism’s Return to Orthodoxy

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    Munich—In a recent interview with the German ecumenical journal Cyril and Methodius, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople Bartholomew I
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 19, 2008
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      Munich—In a recent interview with the German ecumenical journal Cyril
      and Methodius, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople
      Bartholomew I invited Eastern Catholic Churches to return to
      Orthodoxy without breaking unity with Rome. He noted that "the
      Constantinople Mother-Church keeps the door open for all its sons and
      daughters." According to the Orthodox hierarch, the form of
      coexistence of the Byzantine Church and the Roman Church in the 1st
      century of Christianity should be used as a model of unity. This
      story was posted by KATH.net on 16 June 2008.

      At the same time, the patriarch made positive remarks about the idea
      of "dual unity" proposed by the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic
      Church, Archbishop Lubomyr (Husar). Patriarch Bartholomew I noted in
      particular that this model would help to overcome the schism between
      the Churches.

      Orthodox leader suggests "dual unity" for Eastern Catholics

      Constantinople, Jun. 19, 2008 (CWNews.com) - The Orthodox Patriarch
      of Constantinople has responded favorably to a suggestion by the head
      of the Ukrainian Catholic Church for a system of "dual unity" in
      which Byzantine Catholic churches would be in full communion with
      both Constantinople and Rome.

      Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople welcomed the proposal in an
      interview with the magazine Cyril and Methodius, the RISU news
      service reports. The acknowledged leader of the Orthodox world
      suggested that the "dual unity" approach would produce something akin
      to the situation of the Christian world in the 1st millennium, before
      the split between Rome and Constantinople.

      Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Kiev, the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian
      Catholic Church-- the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches-- had
      offered the possibility that Byzantine Catholics might seek communion
      with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, without giving up their communion
      with the Holy See. Patriarch Bartholomew expressed distinct interest
      in the idea, saying that "the mother Church in Constantinople holds
      the doors open for the return of all her former sons and daughters."

      Patriarch Bartholomew acknowledged that a restoration of unity would
      require study, and important differences would have to be overcome.
      However, he observed that major steps have already been taken to
      resolve disagreements-- most importantly the revocation of the mutual
      decrees of excommunication issued by Rome and Constantinople against
      each other in 1054.

      While Catholic and Orthodox theologians continue their efforts to
      reach agreement on doctrinal questions, Patriarch Bartholomew
      said, "the people at the grass roots have to come together again." He
      pointed to the "dual unity" idea as a possible step toward practical

      Cardinal Husar, the Ukrainian Catholic leader, has suggested in the
      past that the Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics of Ukraine should
      unite under the leadership of a single patriarch. That provocative
      suggestion is particularly interesting for two reasons.

      First, Byzantine Catholics in Ukraine argued for years-- particularly
      since emerging vigorously from the shadow of Communist repression--
      that the Ukrainian Catholic Church should be accorded the status of a
      patriarchate. Both the late Pope John Paul II (bio - news) and Pope
      Benedict XVI (bio - news) have expressed some sympathy for that
      suggestion. The Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church is
      substantially larger than other Catholic churches that are recognized
      as patriarchates, including the Maronite, Melkite, Chaldean, Syrian,
      Armenian and Coptic Catholic churches. However, Kiev is not a
      historical patriarchal see like Antioch or Alexandria. And the
      recognition of a Ukrainian Catholic patriarchate would be sure to
      provoke outrage from the Russian Orthodox Church, which has
      complained frequently and bitterly about the activities of Byzantine
      Catholics in Ukraine.

      Second, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine is badly split, with three
      different groups competing for recognition as leaders of the
      Byzantine faithful. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Kiev Patriarchate
      is led by Patriarch Filaret, who was once acknowledged by Moscow but
      broke with the Russian Orthodox Church after Ukraine gained political
      independence. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Moscow Patriarchate
      retains ties to Russian Orthodoxy. The Autocephalous Orthodox Church
      of Ukraine, smaller than the other two, has frequently sided with the
      Kiev patriarchate in efforts to form a single, unified Orthodox
      Church in Ukraine, independent from Moscow.
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