Rorate Caeli

Moscow to Rome: Yes to cooperation, no to communion, and neither of us should compromise

From a statement of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk published in Russia Today (h/t Ad Orientem):
Bishop Hilarion commented on his statement to RG as follows.

“The idea of a strategic alliance with the Catholics– is an old idea of mine. It came to me when the Catholics were electing the new Pope. Although I would like to point out that what I am suggesting is, in essence, the direct opposite of Uniatism, which is a way toward a rapprochement based on doctrinal compromises. In our point of view, the policy of Uniatism had suffered complete failure. Not only did it not bring the Orthodox Christians and Catholics closer together, it actually distanced them. And Uniatism, as is currently recognized by both Orthodox believers and Catholics, is not the path toward unity.

‘‘I, on the other hand, am asking to – without any doctrinal compromises and without attempts to artificially level our dogmatic differences, the teachings about the Church and about the superiority of the Universal Church, without the claims to resolve all of the existing problems between us – act as allies, at the same time, without being a single Church, without having a single administrative system or common liturgy, and while maintaining the differences on the points in which we differ.

‘’This is especially important in light of the common challenges that face both Orthodox and Catholic Christians. They are first and foremost the challenges of a godless world, which is equally hostile today to Orthodox believers and Catholics, the challenge of the aggressive Islamic movement, the challenge of moral corruption, family decay, the abandonment by many people in traditionally Christian countries of the traditional family structure, liberalism in theology and morals, which is eroding the Christian community from within. We can respond to these, and a number of other challenges, together.

‘’I would like to stress, once more, that there are well-known doctrinal differences between the Orthodox and Catholic faiths, but there are also common positions in regard to morality and social issues which, today, are not shared by many of the representatives of liberal Protestantism. Therefore, cooperation is first and foremost necessary between the Orthodox and Catholic Christians – and that is what I call a strategic alliance.

‘’The Church is not ready to make any compromises. And I am not calling for compromise, but on the contrary, to uncompromisingly defend our positions. Within the framework of the Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, my position is often the toughest. Meanwhile, the documents that are drafted there, are the most often contested by the ROC delegations. There have been instances when we were forced to walk out of sessions as a sign of disagreement with what was happening. We always very firmly oppose attempts to erode the differences that exist between us.

‘’We don’t need any compromises. We need cooperation and collaboration. And within the framework of the theological commission, we could discuss the differences that exist between us not in order to find a compromise, but in order to clarify our differences and the things we have in common. It could so happen that in the course of discussion we realize that in some doctrinal aspects we are actually closer than seemed to be before – and this will be a rapprochement. But just the opposite could happen: we may see the differences that we have never noticed before.

‘’The theological dialogue should be allowed to take its course; it may or may not lead to some results. Meanwhile, cooperation that is built on a systematic basis and that is founded on the fact that we share many of the same tasks and challenges should be developed at the same time.”

Photo from here.


  1. Joe B4:22 PM

    How many times has this been tried, too? Does it mean that the Catholic church is welcome in the local areas of other churches and can operate without hostility or opposition - merely civil debate? Can the Catholic church peacefully seek converts there? Are governments that are dominated by other religions going to extend the rights of their religious followers to Catholics as well? Rarely. In many ways, this is the American model. But the remains that truth is a divisive sword among fallen souls and this philosophy cannot endure in peace for long.

  2. Anonymous4:48 PM

    You are completely missing the point, Joe B. Hilarion wants to work with the Church in the political and social arena. The immediate and existential threats of rampant secularism and Islam require that we put aside our differences for the present.

  3. Patrick4:53 PM

    "Uniatism, which is a way toward a rapprochement based on doctrinal compromises". Is the Metropolitan joking? Uniatism, as he calls it, is based on no compromise. The Byzantine Catholics are just every bit as catholic as their Latin brothers, they share the same faith. The Metropoloitan's assertion is preposterous.

  4. Anonymous5:32 PM

    Given the Catholic's Church's on going compromise with the godless modern world, even cooperation seems to much of a concession. I am sure that Bishop Hilarion means well. But the Russian church has not yet recovered from its massive cave in under communinism nor has the Catholic church recovered from Vatican Council II. There are still godless elements within the Russian church just as there are in the Catholic church. Look at the situation of Catholicism in Poland and China! We still don't know whether the current Pope's efforts are sincere or merely a trick to further dupe us into accepting the protestant communion service and dubious ordniation rites put in place by Vatican Council II. We must take patience and wait.
    Now is the time for inward healing in both bodies. Perhaps a few centuries from now one can look at the issue and see how things look then. But for now cooperation is a fool's errand in my view. It would only multiply problems. The ultimate end would be to drag Orthodoxy into the mess in which we find ourselves in Europe and the US.
    Vatican II is viral. Cooperation would only furnish an opportunity for that virus to find new hosts.

  5. Anonymous5:54 PM

    I think Bishop Hilarion has more common sense than those directing the Vatican with their ridiculous agenda of all Churches becoming one under the false idea of ecumenism.

  6. rodrigo6:14 PM


    I wouldn't be so sure. From the Melkite Challenge 2005 (part of the religious formation programme for Melkite children in the United States of America):

    8. How many Ecumenical Councils were held?
    a. Seven Ecumenical Councils

    9. Was the Vatican council an ecumenical council? Why?/Why not?
    a. The Vatican council was not an ecumenical council – no participation from the Orthodox


  7. Anonymous6:31 PM


    I think Hilarion means compromise with Eastern Orthodox doctrine. The Uniates would have had to abandon several of its teachings to renter communion with Rome.

  8. Hey Patrick Byzantine Catholics do not use the filioque in our recitation of the creed. The Latin Church still does!. Also by looking at the performance at the La Religious Education Congress, do you really think we share the same faith. Were not Charismatics or Evangelicals. Until Rome accomplishes it's reform of the reform and puts a complete stop to eliminating past Roman Catholic traditions than unity with any Orthodox Church, which is proud and still uses it's past traditions, is out of the question. God Bless Met Hilarion!.

  9. Joe B, how do you feel about the Russian Orthodox church setting up a mission in Italy and seeking converts there?

  10. Johnny Domer7:53 PM

    As offensive as this statement is to Eastern Rite Catholics--implying that their very existence is just a compromise, as if they don't actually believe the things they believe in--you have to admire his candor. We believe something different from you, you are wrong, we are right, and we're not giving up our beliefs. I hope we can actually work with them in Russia--meaning, that they'll let us into Russia and work there freely.

  11. Tom the Milkman8:11 PM

    Although Hilarion misstates Uniatism as rapprochement based on compromise, since Uniatism, far from distancing, indeed brings Orthodox and Catholic believers closer when Orthodox believers submit to the Roman Pontiff, his primary point is spot on, and in fact suggests a more appropriate ecumenism than the model lurking in the minds of a number of Churchmen, both Catholic and Orthodox. Beautifully vested too.

  12. Anonymous8:16 PM

    If i remember The Catholic Church has a dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (Outside the Church , No Salvation) Sorry Father Hilarion but your power stops at the top, now you must obey like all.

  13. Yes, Rodrigo, there is a dangerous strain of Crypto-Orthodoxy in the Eastern Catholic Churches. The stupid notion that there have been only seven oecumenical councils, and that virtually all of the rest of the Church's oecumenical councils aren't what the Church says they are, is just one manifestation of that Crypto-Orthodoxy. It is the Church headed by the See of St. Peter -- not private Eastern Catholic theologians or individual bishops or priests -- who determines which councils are oecumenical and which are not. The lack of participation of Christians who are separated from the Catholic Church cannot render one of the Church's general councils anything less than a general council.

  14. Quote :"If i remember The Catholic Church has a dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (Outside the Church , No Salvation) Sorry Father Hilarion but your power stops at the top, now you must obey like all"

    That statement was meant for "Protestantism", not the Orthodox Churches!.

  15. Robert, the Russian "Uniats" do not use the Filioque, the Ukrainians do. And in any case, all of them are supposed (indeed, obliged) to adhere to the Filioque. The fact that they sing it in their liturgy or not makes no difference. Their faith is identical. Otherwise they would just not be Catholic. The Metropolitan's claim is ridiculous.

  16. Anonymous9:41 PM

    an interesting view of Metropolit Hilarion which is, in a paradoxal way, a sentence to death for doctrinal ecumenism.

    He's right that what he calls "uniatism" - an inadequate word - failed to achieve a full communion but its main purpose is different today. Catholic Eastern Churches are instilling the Eastern Tradition inside the Roman Church and they make present the core idea that Catholicism goes beyond the Latin Church.

    But if the Russian Orthodox Church says no possible progress is to be seen in terms of communion and doctrine, it's clearly a way to say "bybye ecumenism"...

    Cardinal Koch's task is becoming less and less substantial. The massive investment of post-Vatican II Catholics into the ecumenical so-called dialogue was partly a waste of time : theologians will never find the square circle said the Metropolit.

    On the other hand, a practical cooperation on social/political/cultural issues is positively welcomed and expected.
    In short, the Metropolit is saying "good bye" to the illusions and "hello" to a realistic approach.
    Unfortunately very few in the Catholic hierarchy are crystal-clear on these matters and share his realism.


  17. Anil Wang9:51 PM

    WRT, Uniatism, Eastern Catholics do not see a difference between Catholic and Orthodox doctrines. They are different ways of describing the same thing. Catholics tend to focus more on the judicial aspects of salvation while the Orthodox tend to focus on more the relational aspects, but both are clearly present in scripture as different ways of explaining the mystery of the incarnation and resurrection. If you run through the list of all apparent doctrinal differences, there is a way of understanding both that does not show contradiction and in facts brings a richness that is often missed by strict Western and strict Eastern interpretations. Eastern Catholics see the blindness of both sides, especially after the implementation mess of VII and have much to teach both...if they have the humility to listen.

  18. I actually can respect the fact the the Russian Orthodox Church wishes not to compromise on dogmatic differences.

    He can get away with saying that because in the past few decades, for the most part, the Church hasn't always been towing the hardline in public support of its dogmas. The head of the Russian Orthodox ends up doing a PR spin that makes us look like patsies.

  19. Tom the Milkman11:53 PM

    @anon 17:32
    the Russian church has not yet recovered from its massive cave in under communinism

    If by "cave in" you mean capitulation, I suggest you read "The Russian Golgotha", a penetrating look at the Russian martyrs under Sovietism. Anyone understanding Russian history would be ashamed to make such a slanderous claim!

  20. Anon of 16:48,
    I agree with your point and most of the comments here that this is a step in the direction of honesty, and I would encourage this cooperation as far as it goes. I'm just saying it won't go to the desired end. I also like the forthrightness and insight of the man. He would be a good Roman Catholic. And he should be.

    Jack, if I had the authority, I would say no to anyone trying to convert Roman Catholics from their faith.

  21. Anonymous1:37 AM

    Quote :"If i remember The Catholic Church has a dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (Outside the Church , No Salvation) Sorry Father Hilarion but your power stops at the top, now you must obey like all"

    That statement was meant for "Protestantism", not the Orthodox Churches!.

    Sorry, but, the pronouncement of Pope Eugene IV, in the Bull Cantate Domino, 1411, states "...that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and SCHISMATICS, can have a share in eternal life..." In 1411, as now, the schismatics are, among others, Russian Orthodox.

  22. I think His Eminence' comments are misunderstood. He has said at other times that Orthodox and Catholics need to cooperate in their reponses to secularism and radical Islam. He's saying that we can cooperate in this area--indeed must cooperate in this area---without having to bridge the many differences we have in doctrine and the way we understand that Faith. In other words, if we wait until we agree on all points of the Faith, secularism and radical Islam--not to mention liberal Protestantism--will make us both irrevelant, if not destroy us altogether.

  23. Anonymous4:47 AM

    A Reminder of Hope

    by Tom Piatak
    March 25th, 2011 Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. Click here for details].

    As our country plunges into yet another foolish war in the Moslem world and teeters on the edge of bankruptcy, it is easy to be focused on the negative. But today’s news also brought a small reminder of hope. The synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, meeting in Lvov, just elected 40-year old Sviatoslav Schevchuk, the third youngest Catholic bishop in the world, to be the Major Archbishop of Kiev-Halych and the de facto head of the Church. Under Soviet rule, such an event could not have occurred: until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Catholic Church was the the largest illegal religious body in the world. After the Soviet conquest of western Ukraine during World War II, all of the Church’s property was confiscated and all of its clergy who were unwilling to accept Soviet domination were sent to the Gulag, where many perished. The Soviet suppression of the Ukrainian Catholic Church was preceded by Lenin’s murderous persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church and was accompanied by Stalin’s persecution of all varieties of Christians in all the lands of Eastern and Central Europe that fell into his lap after World War II. For those of us who grew up during the Cold War, the fact that people in those lands are now free to practice the faith of their fathers still seems little short of miraculous. And the fact that such an event could occur in a land once in the grip of Soviet tyranny should remind all of us that evil does not have the last word, no matter how bleak the contemporary political scene might seem.

  24. Anonymous5:06 AM


    The doctrine "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus" was formulated by St. Cyprian of Carthage in the IIIrd century, solemnly defined as dogma by the Fourth Lateran Council in the XIIIth, and reiterated by the Council of Florence in the XVth. Its applicability not only to pagans and heretics, but to schismatics, including the Byzantines, has been upheld by pope after pope through the centuries.

    In particular we might refer to the bull Unam sanctam of Boniface VIII: "We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

    The state of the souls of individual Orthodox Christians is, of course, known to God alone, but that Orthodoxy as an entity is outside the One Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church is most certain. Even at Vatican II, the only even apparent concession on this point was to refer to the schismatic Byzantine and Oriental Churches (Orthodox and Non-Chalcedonian alike) as "true particular churches," i.e., as bodies with a valid apostolic succession and thus legitimate jurisdiction and valid Sacraments and (though, by virtue of the schism, in practice the former is nullified and the celebration of the latter rendered illicit), in contradistinction to the Protestant sects, which lack valid succession, and whose putative clergy are thus not validly ordained and have no jurisdiction, even in principle.

  25. \\Robert, the Russian "Uniats" do not use the Filioque, the Ukrainians do.\\

    Actually, this is not true.

    I attended the local Ukrainian Catholic church for several years.

    Filioque (i Synna) is not recited in the Creed. The very first article in the Union of Brest said, "Do not make us confess any other creed than we have ever said." And in the mid-2000's the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church ordered its exclusion from the Creed in all places in the services and in all Churches. One afternoon a few people of the parish I attended when through removing this from the Creed in the pew books (they hadn't been using it anyway). For that matter, the Synod ordered a return to infant Communion from the time of Baptism.

    The Russian Catholics were told by Pius XI, "Add nothing, omit nothing, change nothing" (Ne plus, ne minus, nec altera) from their spiritual patrimony, including liturgical practices and beliefs. The other Eastern Catholic Churches are taking this excellent advice to heart.

    **We still don't know whether the current Pope's efforts are sincere or merely a trick to further dupe us into accepting the protestant communion service and dubious ordniation rites put in place by Vatican Council II.**

    The Church by her very nature of indefectibility cannot and does not promulgate invalid or Non-Catholic rites. You may not personally like the present Ordinary Form or ordination rites, but they have been promulgated by legitimate Ecclesiastical authority, and are therefore valid.

    I make no secret of my preference for the Byzantine Liturgy, but that doesn't mean I consider other authorized Liturgies of the Church properly celebrated un-Catholic or not salvific and grace-filled.

    ||I wouldn't be so sure. From the Melkite Challenge 2005 (part of the religious formation programme for Melkite children in the United States of America):||

    Actually, there are remarks by the retired Eparch John Elya that disagree with this proposition. He says that the Melkite Church indeed accepts Vatican I, and deals with this very matter here:

    However, Vatican I has less effect on the day-to-day spiritual life of the average Eastern Catholic (especially Melkite), than the average Latin Catholic.

  26. Yianni7:31 AM

    Metropolitan Hilarion is a realist, and shows great wisdom. The more I hear from him, the more I like him. Perhaps over a long period of time and in the light of future developments as yet unimagined, the Roman Catholic church will return to the fold. As a Greek Orthodox layman, I fervently pray for this, though I probably won't live to see it, as it would require the Roman church to nullify a number of “infallible’ pronouncements and “ecumenical” councils. Ain’t gonna happen, and Holy Orthodoxy will never cave to Rome’s unilateral, bizarre innovations.

    The medieval Latin church was the cultural matrix in which the modern West was formed. The result is the Body of Christ tragically fractured through Protestantism, as well as the atheistic communism that ultimately spilled the blood of millions of our Eastern European Christian martyrs, within living memory. And now we’ve come to the point that we can realistically predict the eventual extinction of Christianity in the West. Time to get serious - the crisis of faith we face today is such that it is time to stop jousting at hopeless ecumenical windmills, and to join forces in the defense of the Christianity we still share, to the extent we still can.

    Unfortunately, the comments to this article demonstrate how far we are from understanding each other… or rather, how little some Roman Catholics understand about Eastern Orthodoxy. Or care to. Why should they even try, since Orthodoxy is - at best – quaint, archaic and basically just incomplete Roman Catholicism, and at worst - “dangerous”, “stupid” and heretical (thanks, Jordanes551)? If the Roman church is modeling the love of Christ to us “separated brethren” why does it always feel like we’re dealing with hordes of mind-numbed Borg? As Anonymous 20:16 said, now we must “obey like all”. Well, we’re not about to. And Metropolitan Hilarion has the wisdom to try to pull something positive out of the ruins.

  27. Anonymous2:35 PM

    to Jack who wrote either being extremely naive or poorly informed :

    "Joe B, how do you feel about the Russian Orthodox church setting up a mission in Italy and seeking converts there?" (Jack)

    The Orthodox proselytism is INTENSE : I don't know about Italy but I've read about the impressive expanse in ... Africa, Black Africa from the patriarchate of Alexandria. When Zimbabwe, the Congo or Madagascar have ever been within the so-called "canonical territory" ???
    Far before any Orthodox arrives, there were Protestant and Catholic communities.

    I'm glad for this growth of Orthodox Christians in Africa : it shows that the liberal Christian Churches cannot respond to the religious needs of Africans and this should be a significant message for the "inculturation" maniacs.
    But it is also a lesson : don't gulp on easily the ban of "proselytism" (so-called). It's just a trick to fool up naive Catholics or Protestants.
    Orthodox people have no shame to evangelize wherever they like, - "canonical" non canonical - and this should be a lesson for all Christian Churches including the Roman Catholic Church. Evangelization comes first : Catholics should emulate what the Orthodox DO not what they sometimes say in expert meetings.


  28. The statement of course has to be understood to be for an Orthodox audience.

    The main doctrinal issue would still be the office of the Bishop of Rome.

    For many this agreeing to the jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome is something that can't be swallowed.

  29. Anonymous5:36 PM

    "If i remember The Catholic Church has a dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (Outside the Church , No Salvation) Sorry Father Hilarion but your power stops at the top, now you must obey like all."

    That is an Orthodox doctrine so draw the appropriate conclusion.

  30. To Yianni,

    I understand enough about Orthdoxy to know that they allow divorce (which is forbidden in the Gospel) and contraception (forbidden in scripture); two of the things which have contributed to the absolute destruction of the West and the East christian faiths and cultures. Granted Catholic priests (not our Popes) have dropped the ball on preaching against it but at least we have not sinned against faith by permitting it unlike the false teachings of the Orthodox church's.

    Divorce and contraception and sins against matrimony. Don't believe me take Jesus Christ's word for it.

  31. Noah of Christ Crucified said "I understand enough about Orthdoxy to know that they allow divorce (which is forbidden in the Gospel) and contraception (forbidden in scripture); . . ."

    Forgive me, but you know nothing about Orthodoxy (Byzantine) or you wouldn't make such a statement. That the Orthodox Church has never made the kind of juridical statments about these matters that the Latin Catholic Church has done does not mean that there is no teaching that these things are themselves objectively wrong. Orthodoxy does not make a habit of trying to define everything that comes down the pike but preferes to distinguish between the things that are necessary to define and those which can be left in gray areas: the difference between orthodoxy and orthopraxy. On the other hand, Orthodoxy has a principle called "economia" (economy: an exercise of mercy on the part of the Church) wherein one's bishop in the case of a marriage gone bad may issue an ecclesiastical "divorce"--which is analgous to Latin "annulment"--or one's spiritual father in the confessional to discuss the issue of contraception--analogous to the fact that the Latin clergy have refused to even discuss the issue with people, even in the confessional since the 1968 enclyclical Humanae Vitae was issued. When the Latin Church can issue annulments and then turn and look askance at another Apostolic Church's practice which is virtualy identical but with a different name, then it's time to apply the old reminder of people who live in glass houses. An Orthodox ecclesiastical divorce is not some easy thing to come by, any more than an annulment is, though by some standards annulments can be had depending on who you know or who you are.

    On the issue of contraception, it's almost a universal opinion among the clergy that the dissent stirred by Humanae Vitae's critics was valid. Most that I know change the subject when it comes up and don't enforce it at all. It wasn't even mentioned in my marriage counceling in the mid 1970s.

  32. Bob,

    Annulements are not marriages that have gone bad. They are marriages that have never happened in the first place.

    Orthodoxy does allow contraception
    Orthodoxy does allow divorce

    "The Church grants "ecclesiastical divorces" on the basis of the exception given by Christ to his general prohibition of the practice." Source

    There are no exceptions in the Catholic church for divorce and remarriage (but apparently Orthodxy is willing to bless an adulterous relationship if the bishop approves)

    "Yet, the Orthodox Church also recognizes that sometimes the spiritual well-being of Christians caught in a broken and essentially nonexistent marriage justifies a divorce, with the right of one or both of the partners to remarry." From the same source from above.

    I don't care how easy or hard an annulement is to come by in the church. An annulement is merely the church recognizing a marriage did not happen. If the couple is lying when they receive it so they can get another invalid marriage then they live in adultery and will go to Hell if they do not repent.

    The problem is the doctrine is perverted by the teaching of the Orthodox church's. Only the Chair of Peter is protected from errors against the Faith.

  33. Noah:

    Apparently you didn't really read the materials on the site you cite because if you did you would see that the Orthodox Church's practice is essentially little different than that of the Latin Catholic Church. Admittedly it varies because they approach the mystery of God moving among us differently. But to call their practice or doctrine "perverted" is neither charitable nor the position of the Catholic Church.

    In addition, this is the Greek Orthodox Church's practice as it applies to their ecclesiastical jurisdiction. It is how the Greeks apply Orthdoox doctrine to concrete situations. To say that this applies to the Orthodox Church in general is erroneous. No particular Orthodox Church speaks for the whole of Orthodoxy--that's a principle that has come to the fore in the ecumenical dialogue when the Russian Orthodox Church has walked out and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has refused to participate in any ecumenical dialogue at any time. In the Orthodox Church no one speaks for the whole of the Church--the Church speaks in unanimous consensus when that is necessary but leave most concrete applications of doctrine to the decision of the bishops given the Apostolic succession. If you read Church history, you'll discover that this was pretty much the way things were until the Protestant Reformation made the Latin Catholic Church adopt a fortress mentality and apply a rigid uniformity on itself.

    I still don't see the basis for your statement about contraception. You provide no documentation for that statement. If you want to go that route, you'll have to provide a definitive statement by a ruling body of bishops of a canonical Orthodox Church.

    But both of your assertions have no relation to the story posted about His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion and his statement. The story speaks of his refreshing candor that the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches need to form a strategic alliance to defend Western civilization against militant secularism and militant Islam, both of which seek to eradicate the influence of Christianity in the world. Our own fifth column is liberal Protestantism, which His Eminence recognizes as being the weak link in our Christian chain against both these enemies.

    Ultimately the struggle that we face as Christians is against forces that are gaining ground against us. We have the opportunity to join forces with Churches of Apostolic origin who have a common faith with us or we can fail individually. Already large portions of the cradle of Western Christianity are either nominal or practically lost to the Faith. So what is your suggestion? His Eminence is right in saying that to wait for complete doctrinal agrement on all points will mean that we will still be debating when these two enemies of ours are at the door.

    The question we face is how we articulate the vision of Christ in the face of the world we live in. The Vatican Council called us to see people in the Orthodox Church as being part of the Catholic Church, though not yet visibly, because of their Baptism. It refers to them as "true particular Churches," something akin to saying that your local diocese is a true particular Church, though in visible communion with the Bishop of Rome. Hostlity toward them is no longer an option since the time of Venerable John XXIII.

  34. Anonymous2:21 AM

    This is sad news,when will we ever be one-maybe under more trying circumstances, when a common enemy causes us to abandon arguements & differences. God willing there will be enough time, but scripture states "the night is advanced", and if you read Luke 21:34-36, the warning is even sterner. I guess we'd rather point fingers & remain in our own camps. I hope with heartfelt desire that the Holy Spirit will be our guide as the horizen darkens.

  35. Yianni2:31 AM


    You wrote: “When Zimbabwe, the Congo or Madagascar have ever been within the so-called "canonical territory" ??? Far before any Orthodox arrives, there were Protestant and Catholic communities.”

    The canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria has always been considered to be the whole of Africa, which includes any political entities that may have appeared many centuries later. We believe that the first patriarch of Alexandria was the Apostle Mark, from the year 40 AD. The current Patriarch and Pope Theodoros is the 124th in line of unbroken succession from St. Mark. Would 40 AD not qualify as having been there before the Protestant communities?

    And as far as Roman Catholics go, we were of course one Church and Body of Christ for half of that period of time. To imply that the Orthodox didn’t have canonical jurisdiction there would call the Roman Catholic jurisdiction there equally into question.

  36. yianni2:44 AM

    Re my response to Alsaticus:

    Oops. Though the comment I'm responding to in my post from a few minutes ago appears to be signed "Alsaticus", the header for the remark is attributed to "Anonymous". (3/27 at 14:35) (So you can find the original quickly)

  37. \\The doctrine "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus" was formulated by St. Cyprian of Carthage in the IIIrd century, solemnly defined as dogma by the Fourth Lateran Council in the XIIIth, and reiterated by the Council of Florence in the XVth. Its applicability not only to pagans and heretics, but to schismatics, including the Byzantines, has been upheld by pope after pope through the centuries.\\

    Turn it around and see how it sounds. The Orthodox have applied this statement negatively to Roman Catholics throughout the centuries, and this has been upheld by many Orthodox bishops and synods.

    The best explanation of EENS I've heard is simple: You can't be a Christian all by yourself.

    \\to Jack who wrote either being extremely naive or poorly informed :\\

    I'm quite aware of Orthdoxy's mission activity in Africa.

    Is it your contention that only the Latin church has the right to evangelize and proselytize, and this is not even shared with Eastern Catholics?

  38. Anonymous4:33 AM

    I am Orthodox and I really appreciate Bob's comments. This is the kind of common sense both of our Churches need.

    His Emminence is making a refreshingly honest and practical suggestion. May my Orthodox brethren and our Catholic friends wake up! There is so much we need to do, and who but us can do it?

  39. Bob,

    I did read the materials and it was very clear that there is a visible difference between the Orthodox and the Catholic church on divorce.

    It is a sin against the Christian Faith to hold that there are some conditions when remarriage is an option.

    You can say that black is the same color as blue but it is not. The Catholic church never approves of remarriage while the first spouse is living.

    I made my assumption on birth control based on information such as this

    I guess just the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian orthodox church got it wrong. I don't know about the Bulgarian Orthodox or the other Orthodox Church's.

    I do know though that any Christians toleration of Birth Control (even if conditional) directly contradicts the teaching of the church Fathers and are once again sinning against Faith.

    The truth is Christianity in the west and east is doomed because we have rejected the cross. One of those rejections of the cross is the unwillingness of Christians to have children in their marriage and raise their children in the faith.

    May suggestion to the Orthodox is condemn divorce and contraception and excommunicate anyone who says otherwise. Then actually preach against it.

    The Catholic Church invites all men of Good will to unite to fight evil under the Chair of Peter. I suggest the Catholic Church continue to unite the Church's first through the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  40. Byzcat5:26 AM

    Byzantine Catholics are fully Catholic. We are joined to Peter. We are not crypto-Orthodox. We are a problem for the Orthodox, who do not share our loyalty to the Pope. Many of the comments here show a fundamental misunderstanding of Byzantine Catholicism. We believe in the Immaculate Conception. The Orthodox refuse to believe. We believe in the primacy of Peter. The Orthodox do not. We acknowledge the 7 ecumenical councils, and the other councils as well. The Orthodox have been punished for their arrogance by having their mother church overrun by infidels and turned into a mosque.
    Hilarion is acknowledging the differences in theology, but is requesting cooperation in standing against our common enemy -- secularism and atheism. We should welcome this without compromising our respective theological positions. It is a step towards unity -- not perfect but a step in the right direction.

  41. I completely agree with you, Alsaticus, I have always been incensed by the ridiculous alegation of "canonical territory" by the "Orthodox", which always only apply to what they determine. Relations with "Orthodoxy" are always, always, always a one-way street. A typical consequence of their Photian heritage.


  42. Gratias6:38 AM

    A house divided... His Eminence is basically correct. The important point now is to join forces before Cultural relativism makes Catholics and their Orthodox brothers disappear. And we are making good progress with the Anglicans too. Benedict is a Holy and Wise man and will steer us well.

  43. Taras Bulba7:07 AM

    My mother was a Latin Rite Catholic & my father was Ukrainian Catholic. As a result, I attend both the Byzantine Divine Liturgy and the Traditional Latin Mass. There was a debate among contributors with regard to the filioque clause in the Creed, Byzantine Catholics do not use it in their creed... and niether did Western Catholics until the time of Charlemagne. The practice of interjecting the Filioque clause is suspected to have come out of the Mozarabic Rite in Spain.

    As far as the relationship is between the the Ukrainian & Roman Catholic Churches, we regard ourselves as an Orthodox Church that is in full communion with Rome and our Patriarch is subordinate to the Holy Father.

  44. Anonymous10:28 AM

    I am no fan of the Russian Orthodox nor the Russian state (Russian people themselves are alright), Russian Church and State have been persecuting us Greek Catholics since before Russia existed (Moscovy it was called before Peter the great)them slaughtering us started way before communism (Podlachian martyrs being a notable example from the 19th century), but his no compromise makes much more sense then what comes out of Rome

    as for his comments of Eastern Catholics, absolutely no surprise to me and Im sure other Eastern Catholics

    and speaking as a Ukrainian Catholic Im all for missionary work in the Russian Federation though

  45. The canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria has always been considered to be the whole of Africa

    I thought Carthage was within the Latin Patriarchate of the West, not the Alexandrian Patriarchate.