Monday, December 03, 2007

North vs. South

Interfax Religion:

Meanwhile, the Constantinople Patriarchate had interpreted canonical rulings to state that ‘it had an exclusive right to convene all-Orthodox sessions’, Fr. Vsevolod reminded. However, ‘mechanisms of inter-Orthodox consultations had not been functioning for several decades’, he underlined.

‘Those, who spoke of their exceptional right to call all-Orthodox sessions, have actually blocked this process when it came down to an attempt to clear up the rights of equally significant local Churches’, the representative of the Moscow Patriarchate said.

According to him, the developing crisis in inter-Orthodox relations which are currently in the degree of ‘a grave and chronicle decease fraught with lethal risk’ results in appearance of parallel dioceses ‘not only in diaspora, but also on the canonical territories of certain Churches’.


In this regards and referring to the decision by the Moscow Patriarchate to abandon the Ravenna working session, an Orthodox member of the joint commission on condition of anonymity spoke to AsiaNews about the problems that may be created by the Russians non participation. He explained that the Russian Church has entered a phase of post communist transition and that an internal battle for succession has begun. All external statements are subject to internal use to further different positions. In his view, there is a need for caution, and optimism, because no-one [within the Russian Orthodox Church] will dare go against the dynamics of history. Moreover the decision to withdraw from Ravenna was not shared by many Russian prelates.

The East fascinates me to no end. The Latin Church has its divisions, but in the end, there is the Pope and he is Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. If you accept it, then that's that and if you don't, you're out. In the East though, with its co-equal (for the most part) churches, this ongoing conflict between Moscow and Constantinople being fought on many fronts is interesting to watch as it plays out. You have agents of Constantinople in Ukraine doing what they can to help along an independent Kiev patriarchate. You have the Russians walking out of Ravenna and rumors of power struggles. With that kind of dynamic, the Latin Church's ongoing struggles over liturgy and a return to orthodoxy seem eminently solvable. After all, you're either with the Pope or you're against him.

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