Skip to comments.WILL THE "THIRD ROME" REUNITE WITH THE "FIRST ROME"?
Posted on 09/22/2009 3:41:15 PM PDT by NYer
WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 21, 2009 (Zenit.org)- Sometimes there are no fireworks. Turning points can pass in silence, almost unobserved.
It may be that way with the "Great Schism," the most serious division in the history of the Church. The end of the schism may come more quickly and more unexpectedly than most imagine.
On Sept. 18, inside Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer palace about 30 miles outside Rome, a Russian Orthodox Archbishop named Hilarion Alfeyev, 43 (a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy, composer and lover of music), met with Benedict XVI, 82 (also a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy and lover of music), for almost two hours, according to informed sources. (There are as yet no "official" sources about this meeting -- the Holy See has still not released an official communiqué about the meeting.)
The silence suggests that what transpired was important -- perhaps so important that the Holy See thinks it isn't yet prudent to reveal publicly what was discussed.
But there are numerous "signs" that the meeting was remarkably harmonious.
If so, this Sept. 18 meeting may have marked a turning point in relations between the "Third Rome" (Moscow) and the "First Rome" (Rome) -- divided since 1054.
Archbishop Hilarion was in Rome for five days last week as the representative of the new Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.
One key person Archbishop Hilarion met with was Cardinal Walter Kasper. On Sept. 17, the cardinal told Vatican Radio that he and Archbishop Hilarion had a "very calm conversation."
Cardinal Kasper also revealed something astonishing: that he had suggested to the archbishop that the Orthodox Churches form some kind of "bishops' conference at the European level" that would constitute a "direct partner of cooperation" in future meetings.
This would be a revolutionary step in the organization of the Orthodox Churches.
Cardinal Kasper said a Pope-Patriarch meeting was not on the immediate agenda, and would probably not take place in Moscow or Rome, but in some "neutral" place (Hungary, Austria and Belarus are possibilities).
Archbishop Hilarion himself revealed much about how his Rome visit was proceeding when he met on the evening of Sept. 17 (before his meeting with the Pope) with the Community of Sant'Egidio, an Italian Catholic group known for its work with the poor in Rome.
"We live in a de-Christianized world, in a time that some define -- mistakenly -- as post-Christian," Archbishop Hilarion said. "Contemporary society, with its practical materialism and moral relativism, is a challenge to us all. The future of humanity depends on our response… More than ever before, we Christians must stand together."
A report from Interfax, the news service of the Moscow Patriarchate, on Sept. 18 revealed that Archbishop Hilarion spoke to the Pope about "cooperation between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches in the area of moral values and of culture" -- in particular during the "Days of Russian Spiritual Culture," a type of exhibit with lectures scheduled for spring 2010 in Rome. (One might imagine that the Pope himself could attend such an exhibition).
In memory of the visit, Archbishop Hilarion gave the Pope a pectoral cross, made in workshops of Russian Orthodox Church, the report said, Interfax reported.
Today, an Interfax report supplied details of Hilarion's remarks this morning in the catacombs of St. Callixtus.
"Denied by the world, far from human eyes, deep under ground in caves, the first Roman Christians performed the feat of prayer," Hilarion said. "Their life brought the fruit of holiness and martyr heroism. The Holy Church was built on their blood shed for Christ."
Then the Church came out of the catacombs, but Christian unity was lost, the archbishop said.
Archbishop Hilarion said that human sin is the cause of all divisions, while Christian unity can be restored only in the way of sanctity.
"Each of us, conscientiously fulfilling a task the Church has given him or her, is called to personally contribute to the treasury of Christian sanctity and work to achieve God-commanded Christian unity," the archbishop said.
A second Interfax report today added further information about the meeting with the Pope.
"During a talk with Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk pointed out the status of Orthodox believers in Western Ukraine where three Orthodox dioceses had been almost eliminated as a result of coercive actions of Greek Catholics in late 1980s and early 1990s," Interfax reported.
Archbishop Hilarion "stated the need to take practical steps to improve the situation in Western Ukraine," within the territories of Lvov, Ternopol and Invano-Frankovsk Dioceses, the report said.
Meanwhile, in Russia itself, the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, headed by Patriarch Kirill, seems to be growing, though not without opposition.
The rise in Russia of Kirill and his increasing influence in legislative matters seems to be arousing opposition from the "siloviki," forces connected with the old KGB.
In an article in the current issue of Argumenty Nedeli, Andrey Uglanov says that Kirill's extraordinary activity has attracted attention from some who do not like to have their positions questioned, let alone challenged. And that has become Kirill's "big problem."
These "siloviki," Uglanov says, have been offended by Kirill's "anti-Stalinist and anti-Bolshevik actions," including his appearance at the Solovetsky stone in Moscow's Lubyanka Square on the very Day of the Memory of the Victims of Political Repression.
In this context, Hilarion's visit to Rome takes on even more importance.
The Russian Orthodox Church is a power in Russia, but it faces opposition and needs allies.
What is occurring in Hilarion's visit to Rome, then, may have ramifications not only for the overcoming of the "Great Schism," but also for the cultural, religious and political future of Russia, and of Europe as a whole.
It is especially significant, in this context, that Hilarion, Kirill's "Foreign Minister," has some of the same deep interests as Benedict XVI: the liturgy, and music.
"As a 15-year-old boy I first entered the sanctuary of the Lord, the Holy of Holies of the Orthodox Church,” Hilarion once wrote about the Orthodox liturgy. “But it was only after my entrance into the altar that the 'theourgia,' the mystery, and 'feast of faith' began, which continues to this very day.
"After my ordination, I saw my destiny and main calling in serving the Divine Liturgy. Indeed, everything else, such as sermons, pastoral care and theological scholarship were centered around the main focal point of my life -- the liturgy."
These words seem to echo the feelings and experiences of Benedict XVI, who has written that the liturgies of Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday in Bavaria when he was a child were formative for his entire being, and that his writing on the liturgy (one of his books is entitled "Feast of Faith") is the most important to him of all his scholarly endeavors.
"Orthodox divine services are a priceless treasure that we must carefully guard," Hilarion has written. "I have had the opportunity to be present at both Protestant and Catholic services, which were, with rare exceptions, quite disappointing… Since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, services in some Catholic churches have become little different from Protestant ones."
Again, these words of Hilarion seem to echo Benedict XVI's own concerns. The Pope has made it clear that he wishes to reform the Catholic Church's liturgy, and preserve what was contained in the old liturgy and now risks being lost.
Hilarion has cited the Orthodox St. John of Kronstadt approvingly. St. John of Kronstadt wrote: "The Church and its divine services are an embodiment and realization of everything in Christianity... It is the divine wisdom, accessible to simple, loving hearts."
These words echo words written by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, who often said that the liturgy is a "school" for the simple Christian, imparting the deep truths of the faith even to the unlearned through its prayers, gestures and hymns.
Hilarion in recent years has become known for his musical compositions, especially for Christmas and for Good Friday, celebrating the birth and the Passion of Jesus Christ. These works have been performed in Moscow and in the West, in Rome in March 2007 and in Washington DC in December 2007.
Closer relations between Rome and Moscow, then, could have profound implications also for the cultural and liturgical life of the Church in the West. There could be a renewal of Christian art and culture, as well as of faith.
All of this was at stake in the quiet meeting between Archbishop Hilarion and Benedict XVI on Friday afternoon, in the castle overlooking Lake Albano.
this is so important ... put on the other forums??
There is divine truth in all religions who do not feed on hate and envy.
Other forums? This is posted in the Religion Forum .... and, yes, .... it is very important.
Will Rome reunite with the rest of the Christian Patriarchates?
My Patriarch, Mar Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir, is united with Rome, as were his predecessors.
Well, I suppose the secular audience will hear about this within a few days when it hits the papers. I didn’t want to just jump on here and be the first to be talking about Fatima. (Even Art Bell can talk all night about that!)
Apparently, an article can only be listed on one Forum at a time?
10/13/17 to 2009 = 92 years
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.
Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment
***There is divine truth in all religions who do not feed on hate and envy.***
There is human truth even in the Communist Manifesto, What Is To Be Done?, Mein Kampf and the Little Red Book. So what? I will not model my civilization based upon any of these. Why should one use a very incomplete and very misleading theology when the complete one is not only available, it is freely and easily available?
THE Picture is simply too large to put here as it may annoy readers, but here is:
Lago Albano dal paese di Castelgandolfo, Roma
The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with all the bishops of the world HAS NOT BEEN DONE YET!!!
Russia must be SPECIFICALLY mentioned by name; not some sort of amorphous consecration of the world.
The Fatima promises of the blessing of Russia apply to Russia and Russia alone.
Putin was born on October 7th, the anniversary of the famous naval battle of Lepanto.(Google the significance of this).
If you do ONE thing in your life, it should be to work towards the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The consecration ‘will come late’ but it WILL COME!!
That’s a PROMISE of Our Lady of Fatima.
Claim the promise!!!
and I was born on the same day as Paris Hilton.
Would love to see it, but remain skeptical. The ROC isn’t the only see that would need to sign on for an end to the Great Schism.
“Cardinal Kasper also revealed something astonishing: that he had suggested to the archbishop that the Orthodox Churches form some kind of “bishops’ conference at the European level” that would constitute a “direct partner of cooperation” in future meetings.”
Cardinal Kasper might do well to remember his place and in the future avoid trying to tell Orthodox hierarchs what they should do. In the past that has created a less than favorable impression on The Church.
“Will Rome reunite with the rest of the Christian Patriarchates?”
Perhaps...when it returns to Orthodoxy which the present Pope may well be preparing the Latins for. As for articles like this one, its a bit on the hysterical side, I think.
“Thats a PROMISE of Our Lady of Fatima.”
She also listed some threats about not being able to restrain the wrath of her Son much longer.
Fatima is complete, hysterical nonsense and just about the most broad based anti-Orthodox propaganda to come out of Rome in 250 years.
“Russia will be converted” ... the word ‘converted’ has many meanings other than “religious conversion” or “converted to Roman Catholicism”.
Some just run with it ... and it means what they say it means.
Don’t know what the original Portuguese word supposedly was.
Robert Moynihan. Don’t know who he is.
While this news in itself is merely interesting, the subtext — the possibility of bringing a thousand years of separation to an end — is far beyond merely newsworthy. If such a reunion were to come, countless spiritual blessings would result. And best of all, the Christian world would at last have the temporal strength to end its five hundred year policy of “containment” of the New World Order and go on the offensive. What wonders might God perform through a reunion of East and West!