The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Orthodox - Catholic Cooperation

As I have mentioned on several previous occasions, it is particularly heartening to observe the progress that's been made ecumenically between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Following the lead of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, the Holy Father has been very active in working toward future unity. Interestingly, although the greatest obstacles to unity have seemed to arise more frequently from the Russian Orthodox community than from the Greek Orthodox, the latest initiative involves some direct meetings between the Vatican and the Russian Church. And the centerpiece of these meetings has been the arts and music.

Here's a brief video describing the concert that followed the Vatican meetings between the representatives of the two Churches:


After two days of meetings that included a conference focusing on "Russian culture and spirituality in the Vatican," Metropolitan Hilarion, the chief ecumenist of the Russian Orthodox Church and a composer in his own right, indicated that although the Churches must engage in theological discussions, it is also necessary that they engage in a "dialogue of the heart." He went on to say, "It seems to me that there are things which cannot be transmitted either through theological discourse or diplomacy, but can be transmitted through the language of art."

And perhaps more telling, the Metropolitan also said,
"Today, both of us see the importance of promoting Christian values in society. We cannot reduce our relations to just the unresolved theological questions." This comment echoed Pope Benedict who urged the two Churches to work together to bring people to an understanding of the essential role of faith in both private and public life. 

The next major step would be a meeting between Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill (the Russian Orthodox Patriarch), something that will likely have to await progress on some of the issues that separate the two Churches, specifically the problems surrounding the tensions in Western Ukraine. As always, our best approach is to trust in the movement of the Holy Spirit as He strives to bring the Church to the unity Jesus prayed for.

If you're interested in reading more about the subject, here are a few links:

1 comment:

  1. "..the latest initiative involves some direct meetings between the Vatican and the Russian Church."

    Yes. The Greeks must be enjoying this as much as the CofE likes Anglicanorum Coetibus.

    B16 certainly likes to get things done.