Rorate Caeli

For the record: the Russian No
1. No to change of date for Easter
2. No imminent meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow

These should put an end, at least for the time being, to the never-ending rumors of a change in the observance of Easter for the entire Christian world, and of the meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow that never, ever materializes. 

As Rorate explained last week (A fixed, "unified" Easter? Not so fast! Part I: Why a unified Easter will not be implemented in the foreseeable future.) the Russian Orthodox Church is immovable on the issue of observing the entire liturgical cycle -- including Easter ("Pascha") -- according to the Julian Calendar. Since Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has made clear that he has no intention to abide by any change in the calculation of Easter without the support of all the other Orthodox Churches, we can safely discount Justin Welby's claim of an imminent change in the date of Easter. Especially now that the topic of calendar change has been entirely dropped from the agenda of the "Pan-Orthodox Council" that will be held beginning June 19, 2016 in Crete.

Hopefully this will also put an end to all the pointless talk about fixing Easter on a particular Sunday in April. It will be a futile and destructive exercise whether or not the separated Eastern Christians adopt it alongside the West. 

As for the rumored meeting in February between the Pope and the Russian Patriarch -- rumors about such a meeting flare up at least once a year, and get slapped down with the same regularity. The only reason it keeps getting discussed is the Roman ecumenical establishment's obsession with this photo-op. (The Russians' lack of enthusiasm is just as evident.)

Both articles below are from Interfax Religion:

1. No "unified Easter" -- the "Pan-Orthodox Council" will not even tackle any discussion of calendar change:

Chambesy, Switzerland, January 27, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said the issues of all Orthodox churches' transition to a unified calendar will not be on the agenda of the Pan-Orthodox Council scheduled to be held in June.

"It is very important that the calendar issue has been removed from the issues addressed by the Council. It concerned our believers greatly because false rumors were spread that everyone will be required to go over to the new style," Patriarch Kirill told reporters following a visit to Chambesy, Switzerland, where the heads of the Orthodox Churches met to discuss preparations for the Pan-Orthodox Council.

The patriarch recalled that many churches follow the Julian calendar and some follow the Gregorian calendar, "and a decision was made that the calendar issue will not be addressed by the Council to enable every Church to act in accordance with the adopted calendar."

The patriarch also said all documents that have been approved by the heads of the Orthodox churches and that will be addressed by the Council will be published in the very near future.

"Our Church insisted that there should be no embargo on these documents, but that people should be able to become familiar because many critical views on the upcoming Council were formed due to the absence of information. People did not know anything about the Council," he said.

The patriarch also said he expects "a good document on the mission of Orthodox faith in the modern world," and also a document on marriage, family and obstacles to marriage.

Responding to a question as to what he expects from the upcoming Council, the patriarch said: "Even more consolidation of the Orthodox world. I know that the Council will not address the Ukrainian issue, it will not address the possibility of granting autocephaly [to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate] or legalization of the schism, and that has been publicly confirmed by Patriarch [of Constantinople] Bartholomew."

 2. No imminent meeting between Pope and Patriarch:

Russian Orthodox Church denies rumors of upcoming Patriarch-Pope meeting in Latin America

Moscow, January 26, Interfax - The assumptions about a possible meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis in a Latin American country this February are baseless, the Synodal Department for External Church Relations told Interfax-Religion.

"The Patriarch and the Pope's Latin American visit programs do not intersect," the Russian Orthodox Church's spokesman for inter-Christian relations, Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov) told the agency on Tuesday, commenting on recent rumors in the foreign press about a possibility of such a meeting during the two church leaders' visits to that region in February.

"The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church and the head of the Roman Catholic one will be visiting completely different countries, albeit on the same continent," the spokesman said.

Concurrently, he recalled that the subject of a meeting between the Moscow Patriarch and the Pope is raised in the media from time to time and was repeatedly commented upon by the Church officials who said that "a discussion of its possibility is invariably present on the agenda of the bilateral relations, but no specific time and place of such a meeting have yet been stipulated."