Skip to comments.Russians Remember John Paul II
Posted on 04/03/2006 4:56:29 PM PDT by NYer
Ecumenical Meeting Held in Moscow Cathedral
MOSCOW, APRIL 3, 2006 (Zenit.org).- An ecumenical gathering in a land he never visited remembered Pope John Paul II on the first anniversary of his death.
At a Eucharistic celebration attended by members of other faiths and confessions, the Russian Catholic community on Sunday joined in the worldwide remembrance of the Polish Pontiff.
The Catholic cathedral of Moscow welcomed hundreds of faithful for the event. On hand were representatives of various confessions and religions, Catholic priests of the Eastern rite, and diplomats from several countries. Images of the life of John Paul II adorned the interior of the church.
"God sent us the man our time needed," exclaimed Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow.
"His charism gathered believers and nonbelievers," and, under his direction, "the Church became more open to all Christians, faithful of other religions and all people of good heart," the prelate affirmed.
Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, 60, recalled his visit to John Paul II in the Gemelli hospital in Rome, days before his death. As on other occasions, he was impressed by the Pope's knowledge "of the Russian heart."
"He was a Pope who always made an effort to unite our world's civilization with the civilization of love," the archbishop recalled. "We now see the mystery of death through the mystery of the resurrection."
"Live in Christ," the bishop exhorted. "John Paul II lives! Stay with us and help us on our way."
His words were echoed by the vice spokesman of the Council of the Russian Federation, Aleksander Torshin, who called John Paul II "a great man."
"Our task now is to remember his advice more often," Torshin said. "Not only did John Paul II love Russia, but he understood its complexity, the complexity of forming a new civil society."
For his part, the Moscow Patriarchate's collaborator with the Department of Foreign Relations, Orthodox priest Aleksander Vasyutin, said that with John Paul II a new era arose of collaboration between both Churches.
"He was a man who changed the situation of our world and accepted the traditions of the East," said the representative of the Orthodox Church. "His memory remains not only with Catholics of Russia, but with Christians worldwide."
Rabbi Zinobi Kogan, president of the Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations and Groups, said that John Paul II "was a great spiritual leader of the 20th century who saved the dialogue between Jews and Christians, [and the] understanding between them, and inspired us to work for the improvement of our world."
He added: "April 2 will always remain as John Paul II Day."