Russian Orthodox-Catholic church unity unlikely

The prospect of Russian Orthodox-Catholic church unification is unlikely says Russian Orthodox head of foreign relations.

This is despite ongoing talks since 2013 between Pope Francis and the spiritual head of the Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

Although the two church leaders agree on many issues, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk says there are some basic differences.

“Despite the fact that our faith bases are on similar foundations and almost the same Creed, the Catholics have different teaching about the Holy Spirit.”

He also says during the past thousand years of separate existence “we have accumulated many contradictions and disagreements.”

Mgr Igor Kovalevsky, secretary-general of Russia’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference, agrees “no real progress” was being made towards solving Catholic Church problems in the country.

“I wouldn’t be too optimistic,” he says.

“The general situation in Russia isn’t easy right now, and the Catholic Church still faces great challenges in merely building bridges.

“Whereas politicians tend to set people apart, the mission of religious leaders is to reconcile them.

“Since our own church is small and weak by itself, we should be pleased if these contacts with the Holy See have helped achieve a few small steps, if nothing more.

“But they all seem to be happening over our heads without much reference to local conditions.”

Although the churches themselves may not unite, Pope Francis and Russia’s Patriarch Kirill agree on some issues.

These include the need to protect endangered Christians in the Middle East.

They have also pledged to continue working for world peace.

Source

News category: World.

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