Voices from Russia

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Orthodox Should Not Join in Common Prayers with Christians of Other Confessions According to Fr Vsevolod Chaplin


Fr Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), deputy head of the MP DECR


According to Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the deputy head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, it’s acceptable for Orthodox believers to pray at shrines that are holy to all Christians, but he recommended that they avoid formal joint prayer with Christians of another confession. “The Orthodox faithful can visit Catholic or Protestant churches, they can attend heterodox services, without joining the common prayer, of course, and they can say Orthodox prayers in shrines common to all Christians, all of these are permissible, it goes without saying. However, we should decline participation in common public or private prayer with the heterodox”, Fr Vsevolod said in an interview given to the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta-Religii. In a subsequent interview with Interfax, he stressed “that he’s presenting his own personal opinion on the matter”. In his comments in the newspaper interview, Fr Vsevolod acknowledged that at the recent session of the Central Committee of the WCC held in Geneva, he didn’t take part in common prayers with the heterodox, and that all other members of the Moscow Patriarchate delegation refrained from taking part in such as well. Fr Vsevolod noted that from the ’60s through the ’90s, such involvement in joint prayer did occur, but the hope of many Orthodox participants was that this would lead to a return to the unity and faith of the ancient Church by other Christians. “Today, no one believes in earnest that such a return shall occur, therefore, almost no one in the MP approves of such joint prayer and, in my opinion, we have deepened the conciliar understanding of the Church on this question”, he remarked. In his view, “the original purpose of the WCC, to unite Christendom into a single body, is becoming ever more nebulous, and even grizzled and veteran advocates of ecumenism understand this”. However, it isn’t expedient for the MP “to leave a forum in which it’s possible to discuss such topics as economic globalisation, the ecological crisis, world conflicts, and the public role of religion”.

5 March 2008



Editor’s note:

Of course, Orthodox Christians can always pray with and for other Christians in informal settings. That’s an act of charity. Our greatest modern saints have done such and given us an excellent example to follow. Fr Vsevolod is talking about organised ecumenical services with their syncretism and indifferentism.



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