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Russian Orthodox Bishop Hilarion protests procedure of voting

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  • Reader Timothy Tadros
    Russian Orthodox Church representative voices his protest to Cardinal Kasper against procedure at the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue Belgrade, September 25,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 27, 2006
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      Russian Orthodox Church representative voices his protest to
      Cardinal Kasper
      against procedure at the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue

      Belgrade, September 25, Interfax - Representative of the Russian
      to the European International Institutions Bishop Hilarion of Vienna
      lodged official protest to the President of the Pontifical Council
      Christian Unity Cardinal Walter Kasper against procedure at the
      Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.

      Bishop Hilarion believed it inadmissible to seek solutions to
      dogmatic and
      ecclesiological issues by voting. He thinks that these issues can be
      only by consensus, Bishop Hilarion's press service told Interfax on

      The protest was lodged at the 9th session of the Joint Commission for
      Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman
      Catholic Church
      that concluded its work in Belgrade on Sunday. Through a week, the
      discussed the document 'Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences
      of the
      Sacramental Nature of the Church.' The document was compiled in 1990
      but not
      discussed due to serious exacerbation of interconfessional relations
      in some
      countries of Eastern Europe.

      'On the whole, the 9th session of the Joint Commission was held in an
      of constructive dialogue,' the interviewee said. At the final
      session, however,
      a heated argument developed of a document's section on the authority
      of the
      Ecumenical Councils, which says inter alia that after the severance
      between East and West in the ninth century, a convocation of
      an 'Ecumenical
      Council' in the strong sense of the world became impossible,
      but 'both Churches
      continued to hold 'general' councils gathering together the bishops
      of local
      Churches in communion with the See of Rome or the See of

      Bishop Hilarion raised some principal objections on this issue. He
      said that in
      the Orthodox tradition 'communion with the See of Constantinople'
      has been
      perceived as a binding term of conciliarity like 'communion with the
      See of
      Rome' was perceived by the Western Churches. The model of the
      Orthodox Church
      structuring differs in principle from that of the Roman Catholic
      and the
      Patriarch of Constantinople has never played the role that the
      Bishop of Rome
      plays in the Catholic Church, Bishop Hilarion remarked.

      He underscored that after the 7th Ecumenical Council and up to the
      present time
      no 'general', or pan-Orthodox council was held in the Orthodox
      Preparations for such a council was under way from 1960s, but has
      suspended. Therefore, an assertion contained in the document that
      the Churches
      in communion with Constantinople continued to hold 'general' (i.e.
      Councils) during the second millennium is not in accordance with the

      'Finally, an idea that under conditions of the continuing division
      between East
      and West a convocation of an Ecumenical Council is impossible,
      objection of some Orthodox theologians who base their opinion on
      that the
      Orthodox Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which was
      founded by
      Christ and has not lost conciliarity after the 'great schism'
      and Catholicism - IF) of the eleventh century, the representative of
      the Moscow
      Patriarchate noted.

      Bishop Hilarion's remarks were strongly opposed by Metropolitan John
      (Patriarchate of Constantinople), who insisted on the necessity of
      the See of Constantinople alongside with the See of Rome in the
      document. As a
      compromise Metropolitan John proposed the following
      amendment: 'those in
      communion with the See of Rome or, though it was understood
      differently, those
      in communion with the See of Constantinople.' From the viewpoint of
      the Moscow
      Patriarchate's representative the amendment does not affect the core
      of the
      subject. Yet the Joint Commission's co-president Cardinal Walter
      Kasper put a
      motion to the vote. The majority of the Orthodox participants voted
      in the
      affirmative, while the Moscow Patriarchate's delegates voted in the

      In the course of discussion Bishop Hilarion noted that no voting
      force the
      participants of the bilateral Orthodox-Catholic dialogue to a
      compromise or to adopting a viewpoint contrary to their
      self-understanding. The Orthodox participants are not authorized
      to 'invent' an
      ecclesiological model for the Orthodox Church similar to the one
      in the
      Roman Catholic Church in order that the Patriarch of Constantinople
      a place in like the one the Pope's occupies in the Church of Rome.

      Cardinal Kasper took the Russian Orthodox representative's protest
      consideration and promised to bring the issue back during the Joint
      next meeting in October 2007.
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