Rome and Moscow seem to have entered a new era of friendship and co-operation which one Roman Papist spin doctor, Sandro Magister has discribed as a “holy alliance” whose goal is the “new evangelization” of Europe.
As the meeting of Pope Benedict XVI and Moscow Patriarch Kirill grows closer to fruition, the Vatican has stepped up it’s efforts at union with Moscow by publishing the collective writing’s of Kirell both before and after his becoming patriarch on the dignity of man and the rights of a person. The book has an introduction by Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the pontifical council for culture. Last December, the MP published the writings, in Russian and Italian, of Ratzinger on Europe, both before and after his becoming Pope. the book has an extensive introduction by MP Metropolitan Hilarion (Volokolamsk), president of the MP’s dept. of external relations.
Before a concert of Russian sacred music held May 20 at the Vatican, Met. Hilarion told the pope that the Catholic church is not alone in re-evangelizing de-christianized Europe, because they have the Russian Orthodox Church, ‘no longer a competitor, but as an ally”. After the concert the Pope added that “a dialogue is all the more urgent now so that Europe may once again breathe with two lungs and restore it’s awareness of Christian root’s”.
Asked what has led to this extraordinary change in relations, after so many years of polarization between the two churches, Met Hilarion said the first factor is the person of the new pope. A pope who receives “the positive regard of the whole of the Russian Orthodox world,” even though this is pervaded by age-old anti-Roman sentiments. The second, is the common view of the challenge posed to both Churches by the dechristianization of countries that in the past were the heart of Christendom.And the third reason is their mutual embrace of the grand Christian tradition, as the great highway of the new evangelization.
In regards to the question about the first in historical meeting between the heads of the two Churches of Rome and Moscow, Hilarion replied, “this is a desire, a hope, and we must work to make it happen.” Adding that some obstacles will need to be smoothed over first, above all, disagreements between the two Churches in Ukraine, but said he is confident that the meeting will take place soon: “not between just any patriarch and pope, but between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict”.
Watch out Bart! Joe may have a new best friend soon.