In the ROC I hope that the fears of the faithful meeting of the Patriarch with the Pope dispelled

© RIA Novosti / Sergey Pathiterator in photovacation of Moscow and all Russia Kirill and Pope Francis during the signing of the joint Declaration following the meeting in HavanaIn the ROC I hope that the fears of the faithful meeting of the Patriarch with the Pope dispelled© RIA Novosti / Sergey Pathiterator the image Bank

Specific actions undertaken since the historic meeting of Patriarch Kirill with Pope Francis, had to allay the fears of the faithful of both churches, said the Secretary for inter-Christian relations of the Department for external Church relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov).

Historic meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis was held on 12 February 2016 the building of the international airport of Havana. A meeting of this level was the first in the history of Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.

Most of the topics raised at the meeting of the two religious leaders remain relevant in the middle East and Africa continue persecution of Christians, there is a growing social stratification, and traditional values in the West, repeated statements of the Russian Orthodox clergy, are under threat. At the same time, many of the faithful expressed their disagreement with the personal communications of heads of major Christian Churches.

According to Igumnov, believers bring basically the following argument: «what if communicating with the Catholics, we will cease to be Orthodox». «But, dear friends, if we are Orthodox, as we will cease to be in contact with anyone. We can only enrich themselves, to enrich our colleagues, partners and to do something useful overall good work and better understand themselves,» he says.

According to him, Orthodox believers should not withdraw into their community. Otherwise, it would lead to «loss of identity».

«Probably two years after Havana showed that these fears, which often deliberately impose on the fact that something strange and wrong going on in connection with the meeting of Pope and Patriarch, had to unwind. Clearly, what was the Havana meeting, what arrangements were made and how they are implemented. Our specific case is, in my opinion, this is evidenced by. Precisely because it is so important to assess each stage, held with the Havana meeting,» — he explained the meaning of the events of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican has arranged on February 12 last year in Fribourg, and this year on the same day will meet in Vienna.

The Secretary-General of the Conference of Catholic bishops of Russia, priest Igor Kovalevsky agreed with the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to him, the Catholic community of Russia took a meeting of Pope and Patriarch, «naturally, with enthusiasm». He recalled criticism of the meeting by the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who the next day after a meeting in Havana, stated that the Vatican supports «Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.»

«These fears have, as far as I can tell, irrelevant» life Itself has shown that the purpose of the meeting was not «to take the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church». These fears were not justified. Moreover, Pope Francis knows very well the Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic culture,» — said Kowalewski.

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