Russian Orthodox bishop against linking Moscow Patriarchate participation in WCC with reunification with Church Abroad
- 15 May 2006, 14:30
Russian Orthodox bishop against linking Moscow Patriarchate
participation in WCC with reunification with Church Abroad
Moscow, May 15, Interfax - Resolving differences between the Russian
and abroad parts of the Russian Church, including the one over
membership of the Moscow Patriarchate in the World Council of
Churches, should not be made a condition for reunification with the
This statement has been made by Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and
Austria, representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at European
international organizations. He believes `all these differences can
be settled after the unity of the two parts of the Russian Church is
Earlier the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia repeatedly
stated that the ecumenical work of the Moscow Patriarchate was an
obstacle for restoration of full unity between them.
`Will the withdrawal from the WCC benefit the Russian Church? I
doubt it. In general I believe the withdrawal from the WCC will not
affect the internal life of the Russian Orthodox Church in any way
and will go more or less unnoticed on the level of parishes,
monasteries and theological schools', the bishop said as cited by
the press service of the Russian Church representation in Brussels.
Moreover, he continued, the withdrawal from the WCC will deprive the
Moscow Patriarchate of `an important platform for bearing witness to
the truth of Orthodoxy in face of non-Orthodox Christians' and will
rather benefit the Patriarchate of Constantinople, `which already
now uses the WCC as a platform to expanding its influence'.
On the other hand, Bishop Hilarion agrees with those who believe
that at present, relations should be strengthened primarily with
Churches, `which safeguard their traditional spiritual and moral
values, not with Protestants of liberal trend'.
In this connection he expressed the opinion that a Council made up
of the Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental (non-Chalcedonian) Churches
would be more effective than the WCC - `Council' not in the sense of
theological or ecclesiological union but in the sense of a strategic
alliance or pact concluded for protecting traditional Christianity',
the bishop explained.
He believes the forms of the Russian Orthodox Church's participation
in inter-Christian dialogue should remain a subject of conciliar
discussion, and `it is important that the bishops of the Church
Abroad should take an active part in this discussion along with
Moscow Patriarchate bishops'.
`It is my conviction that this matter should be resolved in the
context of a common strategy to be elaborated by the two parts of
the Russian Church, which will hopefully unite around the one
Eucharistic cup shortly', the bishop concluded.