Voices from Russia

Monday, 12 May 2008

The Moscow Patriarchate Once Again Confirms its Intent to Refrain from Common Prayer with Non-Orthodox

This icon was Patriarch Aleksei’s gift to the Archbishop of Paris. This is an excellent example of an innocent action that the Church has always blessed, we are not ordered to cut all contact  with heterodox Christians.

The Moscow Patriarchate reiterated that it thinks it is impossible for Orthodox believers to conduct services together with members of other Christian confessions. “Yet again, we would like to confirm our intention to refrain from participating in joint prayers with the heterodox”, Priest Aleksandr Vasyutin, a member of the Secretariat for Inter-Christian Relations of the MP Department for External Church Relations, said to Interfax-Religion. According to Fr Aleksandr, this question acquired urgency in the process of organising the 13th General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches that is scheduled for July 2009 in Lyons in France.

Fr Aleksandr, who is also a member of the organisation committee of the Assembly, said, “Unfortunately, the standpoint of the Moscow Patriarchate finds little understanding amongst members of other local Orthodox Churches”. As a case in point, he told us that at a recent meeting of the organisation committee, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France (Ecumenical Patriarchate) said in reply to the proposal to refrain from interconfessional prayers that “the standpoint of the Moscow Patriarchate on this matter reminds him of a husband who has a wife, but, he refuses to sleep with her”. Besides this, the EP representative posed a question. “Why do members of the Moscow Patriarchate always refuse to participate in common prayers with the heterodox, whilst Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias participated in joint prayer with Catholic clergy in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris during his stay in Paris in October 2007?”

“There is no need to repeat the information that was broadcast widely in various church and secular media outlets that the service at Notre Dame de Paris was an Orthodox molieben, where the clergy of the Catholic Church were only observers, including André Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris. So, there are no grounds for calling this a joint service or common prayer”, Fr Aleksandr emphasised.

12 May 2008




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