Metr. Kirill: Always Time for Ecumenism

Metr. Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, supposedly a “dying-away” member of the Moscow Patriarchate’s “old guard”, has become more vocal over the past year with the union of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Abroad (ROCOR). Far from there being a split or turn towards conservatism in Moscow, this is the “canonical future of the Russian Church,” as was shown yesterday at the opening of the Bishops’ Council.

See footnote with canon below.- NFTU

Metropolitan Kirill believes Orthodox Christians can pray before pan-Christian shrines in non-Orthodox churches

(Interfax) – Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad said that Orthodox believers can pray before all-Christian shrines in churches of other confessions.

“We should point out that Orthodox prayer before pan-Christian shrines in non-Orthodox churches is allowed and Orthodox Christians can attend non-Orthodox service,” Metropolitan Kirill said at the Bishop’s Council in Moscow.*

According to him, “ordinary visit to the church or attending a divine service doesn’t mean that an Orthodox Christian approves non-Orthodox teaching and liturgical traditions.”

An Orthodox Christian can’t pray with other Christians when it provokes his conversion from Orthodoxy to other confession or schism, Metropolitan Kirill is quoted as saying by the Russian Church official website.

“Situation with schism or the union seems more dangerous because the boarders dividing the Churches are nor as clear and evident for ordinary people as in other cases,” the DECR chairman said.

As to believers of other religions and confession visiting Orthodox churches, Metropolitan Kirill urged to remember “the great role of the church and divine service in preaching Orthodox faith.” According to him, if Prince Vladimir’s ambassadors had not been allowed to the service in St. Sophia Church in Constantinople, “Russia would not have become Orthodox.”

*If any clergymen, or laymen, enter a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated. (Ap. Can. lxv.)