Voices from Russia

Friday, 24 September 2010

Catholics and Orthodox Discuss the Role of the Pope of Rome in Vienna Meeting

Let’s not be coy… the papal pretensions have to go… but they won’t. Therefore, we should end this bootless “discussion” and confine ourselves to friendly relations between the Church and the papist confession.


On Tuesday, in Vienna, a meeting of the Joint International Commission for Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue convened, with a discussion of the “primacy” of the Pope of Rome in the first millennium as the major item on its agenda. “This is the hardest topic in the dialogue between Orthodox and Catholics, because the question of the role of the Bishop of Rome is the key to contemporary life in the Catholic Church”, Igumen Filipp Ryabykh, the deputy head of the MP Department for External Church Relations, told our Interfax-Religion correspondent on Tuesday. “The fact that the Pope of Rome claims universal jurisdiction is simply contrary to Orthodox ecclesiology, which teaches that the Orthodox Church, whilst preserving unity of faith and church order, nevertheless consists of several [autocephalous] Local Churches”, he said.

The Vienna meeting is a continuation of a discussion launched in Cyprus in 2009. “Last year, the meeting of the Commission prepared a draft document; the members of the commission began a study of the text, but it was still a work-in-progress, the Orthodox side made many comments upon the text offered. We expect that the Vienna meeting will see an intense discussion on the text of the document”, Fr Filipp said. The members of the MP delegation to the meeting include Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, the head of the MP DECR, Archimandrite Kirill Govorun, First Deputy Chairman of the MP Education Committee, and Archpriest Valentin Asmus, a professor at the Moscow Theological Academy.

“The task of our delegation is to ensure that this document reflects the Orthodox position and to remove any ambiguities, compromises, or incorrect interpretation of the patristic view of the role of the Bishop of Rome”, Fr Filipp said. He recognised that finding consensus on this matter is difficult, but he felt, “Nevertheless, we should discuss this topic, because it’s the major issue between Catholics and Orthodox. I must say that for a long time the Catholics wouldn’t discuss this topic with the Orthodox side, knowing the crucial differences in our interpretation of it. The fact that the late Pope of Rome, John Paul II, and, then, the present Pope of Rome, Benedict XVI, agreed to bring this subject to the consideration of a joint commission is a generous step towards the Orthodox side on the part of the Catholic side”.

21 September 2010



Editor’s Note:

Lately, there’s been SILENCE from the normally loquacious Boy Wonder in the Russian media. This has been the only notation of this affair in the secular press, and even the religious media isn’t treating it as a major affair. Note well that the Wonder himself didn’t make a statement to the press… an underling did it. In addition, his reception of a Sardinian deacon in his parish in Bolshaya Ordynka (the only parish under his jurisdiction, by the way) received no press coverage in the regular media (what little notice it got came from non-official religious news agencies). In short, the Wonder is on a VERY short leash. By the way, there hasn’t been any further talk of this ecumenical Dixie Fry in the secular media… expect nothing but the usual gaseous statement to come of it. HO HUM…

Here’s two little titbits for all you listeners to idle chitchat and gossip out there… the Wonder’s old diocese, in Vienna and Budapest, has gone to Archbishop Mark Golovkov, of all people (at least temporarily)! Maybe, it’s not a whisper in the loggia, but could we call it a story heard around the stove? Perspirin’ minds wanna know! On top of that, one of the members of the MP delegation, Fr Valentin Asmus, is one of the Wonder’s most bitter foes. Fr Valentin believes that the Wonder’s a secret papist, with a belief in papal supremacy and all that. Is Fr Valentin KMG’s loyal politruk? THAT’S well within the bounds of reason.


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