Russian news agency Interfax reports from Moscow:
The Russian Orthodox Church would never recognize the current status of Catholic dioceses in Russia, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Kirill of Smolenk and Kaliningrad stated.
‘We shall never recognize them and will always dispute the presence of ordinary Catholic dioceses in the territory of Russia and consider it a challenge to our common idea of sticking to a territorial principle of Church administration’, the hierarch said at a church and scientific conference in Moscow.
The Vatican decided to increase the status of its apostolic administrations in Russia up to the level of dioceses in 2002 thus causing a protest of the Russian Orthodox Church.
‘We consider it a mistake, which indeed damages the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue and puts off a possibility of achieving our common aims’, Metropolitan Kirill stated commenting on the 2002 events.
He said that arguments of the Moscow Patriarchate’s opponents were unjustified as they alleged that the Russian Orthodox Church in Europe had its dioceses set up on the same principle as the Catholic dioceses in Russia.
‘Dioceses of the Moscow Patriarchate in diaspora are not ordinary. Neither are they connected with local jurisdiction. They were established to provide pastoral care for people in diaspora, they do not have strictly defined boarders. In a certain sense, they are unusual dioceses and we always underline it in our dialogue with the Catholics’, the representative of the Russian Church noted.