Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Ukrainian autocephaly discussions continue worldwide

Tsilisi, June 5 (Interfax) - The Georgian Patriarchate is awaiting the Constantinople Patriarchate representative's visit to discuss the recent events related to the future of Ukrainian autocephaly.

The Constantinople Patriarchate has already informed the Patriarchate about his representative's upcoming visit, the Georgian Patriarchate secretary Archpriest Mikhail Botkoveli told reporters on Tuesday.

This visit is expected in mid-June, he said.

The Ukrainian church's issue was discussed at a meeting between Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia and the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is visiting Tbilisi, on Monday, he said.

Metropolitan Hilarion briefed Ilia II of the Russian Orthodox Church's stance on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's autocephaly, the priest said.

As to the Georgian Orthodox Church's stand, "it is a very complicated issue" determined by canonical rules, he said.

The Georgian Orthodox Church will take a stance, which the Churches will agree on, he said.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Of Rome, Russia, Unia.

Moscow, May 31 (Interfax) - The Vatican strongly supports the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, Pope Francis said during a meeting with a delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate led by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk.

"In your presence, and especially in front of you, my dear brother, I would like to emphasize again that the Catholic Church will never use an approach provoking divisions. We will never let that happen. I don't want that. There is only one Patriarchate in Russia, yours. And we will not have another," the pope was quoted as saying on Thursday by the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

The pope also said he sees the Unia as an unacceptable method of achieving church unity in relations between Orthodox and Catholic Christians and believes that brotherly dialogue is the only possible way to achieve greater unity, the Patriarchate said.

"Catholic Churches should not interfere in the internal affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, including for political reasons. Such is my position and the position of the Holy See today. Those who do differently do not obey the Holy See," the pope said.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

New Primate for Estonian Church elected

Moscow, May 30 (Interfax) - The Synod of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate held an extraordinary session at the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky in Tallin with the view of electing the Primate of the Estonian Church.

As the result of the secret vote, Archbishop Yevgeny of Vereya, vicar of Patriarch Kirill, chairman of the Education Committee of the Russian Orthodox Church, rector of the Moscow theological schools, was elected Primate of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, website of the EOC MP reports.

Archbishop Yevgeny (Valery Germanovich Reshetnikov) was born in Kazakhstan in 1957 and spent some of his childhood and youth years in the city of Kirov. He did his military service in 1977-1979.

Upon demobilization he worked at the diocesan administration of Vyatka, at the same time serving as subdeacon of Bishop Khrisanf (Chepil) of Vyatka and Slobodskoy.

He graduated from the Moscow Theological Seminary in 1983 and from the Moscow Theological Academy in 1987. Candidate of Theology, Archbishop Yevgeny wrote his thesis on the Pastoral Ministry in the Russian Church in the 10th – 13th Centuries.

He took monastic vows with the name Yevgeny on July 27, 1986, was ordained hierodeacon on August 3, and hieromonk on August 28. In March 1988 he was elevated to the rank of hegumen.

On January 1, 1989 he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite and appointed vice-rector for administrative work of the Moscow theological schools. From November 16, 1990 onwards he served as inspector at the Moscow Theological Seminary.

On August 6, 1991 he was appointed rector of the Stavropol Theological Seminary. On February 28, 1994 he became acting chairman of the Education Committee of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.

On April 16, 1994 he was consecrated as Bishop of Vereya, vicar of the Moscow Diocese.

On July 18, 1995 he was appointed rector of the Moscow theological schools, having retained his position as acting chairman of the Education Committee.

By the decision of the Holy Synod of July 18, 1998, he was appointed chairman of the Education Committee.

On February 25, 2000 he was elevated to the rank of archbishop.

Since March 22, 2011 he has been a member of the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Archbishop Yevgeny is a member of the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission, the Synodal Canonization Commission (since 2015), and the Coordinating Centre for Promoting Theological Science in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Evangelical - Orthodox conference set for June at Holy Cross

(OCA) - Since 2010, Orthodox and Evangelical scholars and leaders from around the world have been meeting annually to promote better understanding. Known as the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative [LOI], the group’s conference this year will be hosted by ​Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and its Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity on the school’s campus in Brookline, MA June 5-7, 2018.

Representing the Orthodox Church in America at the gathering will be Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor; Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary; Archpriest David and Matushka Rozanne Rucker, Orthodox Christian Mission Center Alaskan missionaries; Archpriest Edward Rommen, Adjunct Professor at Duke University Divinity School; and Priest Christopher Moore, former OCMC missionary in Mongolia who will be serving as a missionary in South Korea. Also attending will be Dr. Grant White, Sessional Assistant Professor of Liturgical Theology at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, who resides in Finland.

As part of the conference, two of LOI’s founders—His Grace, Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, and Bob Doll, Chair of the Lausanne Movement’s Board—will offer a free public lecture titled “Workplace Discipleship” at the Archbishop Iakovos Reading Room at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6.

The goal of the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative is to reflect constructively on the history of relationships between Orthodox and Evangelicals in order to work towards better understanding and encourage reconciliation and healing where wounds exist. Through this process, Evangelicals and Orthodox are mutually enriched and strengthened in the work of mission, working towards mutual respect, support, and cooperation in the spirit of our Lord’s prayer for His Church in John 17.

The conference is open to the public. There is no cost to participate.

The Holy Spirit as fire - St. Gregory the Dialogist

(orthognosia) - You have heard that the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in tongues of fire. But why did the Holy Spirit, co-eternal with the Father and the Son, appear as fire? Why as tongues of fire? Why does He sometimes appear as a dove and at other times as a flame? Why did He descend as a dove upon the Only-begotten Son, but as a flame upon the disciples? The Holy Spirit appears as fire because, in the words of the holy Apostle Paul, God is an ethereal, indescribable, and invisible fire: “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). God is also called fire because He destroys the rust of sins.

But the Lord sends fire down to earth when with the breath of the Holy Spirit He enflames the hearts of mortal men. And the earth lights up when a heart of flesh, that is cold in its iniquitous pleasures, abandons the desires of the modern world and becomes enflamed with love for God. Thus the Spirit very properly appeared as fire, because from every heart in which He chooses to dwell, He dispels the numbness of ice and enflames such a heart with a desire for eternal life. And the reason He appeared in tongues of fire was because the Spirit is co-eternal with the Son, while the Son is the Word of the Father; thus, just as the tongue is in close proximity to the word, so the Holy Spirit appeared in flaming tongues, in order to show the Spirit’s particular closeness to the Word of the Father. Furthermore, the Spirit also appeared in tongues of fire because He causes everyone in whom He dwells to be ardent and cogent.

Church teachers possess tongues of fire, because in their sermons on the need to love God they kindle the hearts of their listeners. This flame was acquired from the mouth of the Lord Himself by those who said: “Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us… and while He opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32), because from the spoken word the spirit is kindled, its cold rigidity is dispelled, the soul begins to burn with lofty aspirations, and distances itself from earthly desires. Celestial commandments are never heeded with a cold heart, but with a heart burning with the fire of inner love for them.

The Holy Spirit appeared both as a dove and as fire, because He makes all those whom He encompasses both pure and ardent – pure as a dove and fiery in their ardor. Such a combination of ardor and purity is the only one acceptable to God. Thus, since the Spirit teaches both righteousness and purity, He had to appear as a dove, so that every heart touched by His grace would be tranquil with meekness and fiery with ardor for the truth.

Yet why did the Holy Spirit appear as a dove over our Redeemer, our Intercessor between God and men, but upon the disciples He descended as fire? It is well-known that the Only-begotten Son of God is the Judge of mankind. But who could have borne His judgment if He, before gathering us together in meekness, had judged our sins with ardor for truth? Thus, having made Himself Man for the sake of men, He appeared meek before men. He did not want to destroy sinners, but wished to gather them to Him; He wished first to rectify them through meekness, in order to have with Him those who could later be saved on the Day of Judgment. For this reason the Holy Spirit appeared as a dove over the One Who came not to destroy sinners through ardor, but to bear them a while longer through meekness. On the other hand, upon the disciples the Holy Spirit had to descend as fire, so that they, being plain people and even sinners, could spiritually enflame other slaves of sin to rebel against their sins and to cleanse by means of repentance those sins which God had spared through meekness. And the fact that even adepts of the Heavenly Teacher are not without sin is confirmed by St. John, who says: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

Thus the Holy Spirit descended as fire upon people and as a dove upon the Lord because we, in our ardor for truth, must carefully notice and burn with the fire of constant repentance those of our sins which the Lord mercifully bore through meekness. Consequently, the Spirit appeared over the Redeemer in the form of a dove and over people in the form of fire, because the more moderate is our Judge’s strictness towards us, the more must our weakness be enflamed against its own self.

New Primate for the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church

New York (SCOOCH) – Late last month, H.E. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian announced that he would be retiring as Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in the United States, and by implication, as President of the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches. On Friday, May 4, 2018, it was announced that SCOOCH secretary Fr. Daniel Findikyan was voted in as Primate Elect by the 116th Diocesan Assembly, and pending the anticipated blessing and confirmation of H.H. Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, would assume the role of Primate of the Diocese. Fr. Daniel’s election was confirmed by H.H. Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, via letter of blessing.

Both H.E. Archbishop Khajag and Fr. Daniel have played important roles on the Standing Conference over the years, with the former serving as President of the body and the latter as longtime secretary. The Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches offers its prayers and best wishes for a peaceful retirement to Archbishop Khajag – whose inspired leadership has been a crucial factor in the success of our work – and our sincere congratulations to Fr. Daniel, whose dedication and work ethic has likewise been a blessing to our organization and will surely serve him well in his new role.

Axios! Axios! Axios!

Watch the video below of the enthronement ceremony.

Romanian Church confirms opposition to civil partnerships

(Romanian Church) - The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church held Thursday, 24 May 2018, its working session at the Synodal Hall of the Patriarchal Residence, under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel.

Given the insistent request of the clergy and lay believers of the Metropolis of Bessarabia, the Holy Synod elected by secret vote His Grace Antonie of Orhei, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Chișinău, as Bishop of Bălți.

The Holy Synod proceeded to the election by secret vote of the V. Rev. Archimandrite Veniamin Goreanu, patriarchal adviser, as Bishop of Southern Bessarabia.

During the session, the Holy Synod elected the V. Rev. Archimandrite Timotei Bel as Assistant Bishop to the Diocese of Maramureș and Sătmar.

The new assistant bishop will bear the title of His Grace Bishop Timotei of Sătmar.

The Holy Synod approved the proposal of the Metropolitan Synod of Moldavia and Bukovina to add to the liturgical calendar of the Romanian Orthodox Church the feast of the Directres Icon of the Mother of God of Neamț Monastery to be celebrated on July 9, beginning with 2019.

The texts of the Vespers, Matins, Synaxarion, troparion, kondakion, and the Akathist Hymn to the Holy Icon were also approved.

The synodal fathers approved the 2019 liturgical calendar, noting that the feast of Holy Pascha will be celebrated next year on April 28.

The Holy Synod reiterated the position of the Romanian Orthodox Church on the legalization of civil partnerships. A legal status would lead to the encouragement and legalization of cohabitation, as well as to the disengagement of life partners to the detriment of the children’s major interest.

The rejection of civil partnerships is also the position of all the Orthodox Churches, expressed at the Holy and Great Council of Crete in 2016.

Friday, May 25, 2018

St. Tikhon's hosts OISM gathering

I loved OISM as a seminarian. Even with the very variable attendance and spotty participation by host seminaries (I once went to OISM at St. Vlad's and only two of their people attended any of the events. At other gatherings we were busting at the seams, went on field trips, and had stimulating speakers (Bp. Irenei of Sacramento comes to mind immediately). I'm heartened to see that OISM continues since the time when Bp. Michael of New York resurrected it during his tenure at St. Tikhon's.


(STOTS) - On the weekend of May 11-13, 2018, Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary hosted this year’s Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement [OISM] gathering on the school’s campus.

OISM is a Pan-Orthodox organization focused on building bridges between the different seminaries.

The theme of this year’s gathering was Orthodox Christian missions. Presentations were offered by three STOTS faculty members—Archpriest Steven Voytovich, Dean and Chair of the Department of Pastoral Arts and Praxis; Dr. David Ford, Professor of Church History; and Hieromonk Herman [Majkrzak], Lecturer in Liturgical Theology.

“In addition to stimulating and informative presentations, the seminarians where able to participate in services at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery and spend time getting to know each other and build friendships,” said STOTS seminarian Joseph Clark. “It is hoped that the seeds planted here will one day bear fruit for Christ’s Church.”

In addition to students from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, representatives from Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY; Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, Jordanville, NY; and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology/Hellenic College, Brookline, MA also participated.

ROCOR Orthodox Pastoral School offering Summer classes

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Moscow's church relations dept. on granting autocephaly

(ROC) - The Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has stated its intention to discuss with all the Local Orthodox Churches the appeal made to it by Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko to create an autocephalous Church in Ukraine. Is there today a commonly accepted procedure for granting church independence – autocephaly and what does canon law say about this mechanism? – a detailed explanation given to RIA Novosti by the vice-chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov.


– Father Nikolay, why does the question of granting independence to a particular Church have no clear answer given once and for all, why there are no appropriate fundamental prescriptions?

Indeed, the conditions and procedure for granting autocephaly are not explicitly prescribed in the acts of Ecumenical Councils (their decisions are fundamental and paramount for all the Churches – ed.).

For this reason, when preparations began for a pan-Orthodox Council in 1961 in Rhodes, this topic by common agreement was included in the catalogue of issues for discussion. The Local Orthodox Churches began to consider it actually at the meeting of the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission (IPC) in Chambesy, near Geneva in 1993.

By that time eight Local Orthodox Churches had presented their papers on ‘Autocephaly and Ways of Declaring It’. In the diversity of opinions, two conceptually different positions can be singled out.

The Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem and the Greek Orthodox Church emphasized the priority of the competence of Ecumenical Councils and Local Councils of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to grant autocephaly. The Patriarchates of Moscow, Romania and Bulgaria as well as the Polish Orthodox Church proceeded from the independent right of every autocephalous Church to grant autocephaly to its canonical part. However, in the course of the discussion, an agreement was reached on the principal thing: there is no autocephaly without the declaration of the will of the Mother Church, i.e., the Local Orthodox Church to which its part wishing to receive autocephaly belongs. Nor there is autocephaly without a pan-Orthodox agreement ‘expressed in the unanimity of the Councils of the autocephalous Churches’. Given the perfect unanimity of the Churches reached on these principles, it remains only to agree upon the procedure and details of the process.

Russian Church continues dialogue with Ethiopian Church

(ROC) - On 15 May 2018, Patriarch and Catholicos Abune Mathias I of Ethiopia arrived in Russia with an official visit at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. It is the first visit of His Holiness Abune Mathias to the Russian Orthodox Church after his election to the Patriarchal throne in March 2013. Earlier, in July 1996, Patriarch Abune Paulos also visited Russia.

The delegation accompanying Patriarch Abune Mathias includes Abune Enthons, Archbishop of West Harerge Diocese; Abune Philipos, Bishop of South Omo Diocese; Abune Aregawi, Bishop of South Gonder Diocese; Melake Genet Abba Kidane Mariam, personal assistant to His Holiness Abune Mathias I; Melake Selam Abba Kiross Weldeab, head of the Media Service; and Musie Hailu, head of the Service of the Patriarchal Protocol.

At the Vnukovo Airport His Holiness Patriarch and Catholicos Abune Mathias was met by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations.

Taking part in the meeting were also H.E. Grum Abay Teshome, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Russian Federation; staff members of the Ethiopian Embassy; Hegumen Feofan (Lukyanov), head of the DECR Protocol Sector; Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations; other DECR staff members; as well as representatives of the Ethiopian diaspora and the Moscow clergy.

Greeting Patriarch Abune Mathias, Metropolitan Hilarion expressed his hope that His Holiness’ visit to the Moscow Patriarchate would be fruitful and would further strengthen the centuries-old relationships between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

Addressing the DECR chairman, the head of the Ethiopian Church noted that his visit would help revive the historical friendship between the peoples of Russia and Abyssinia.

During the visit that will last until May 20, His Holiness Abune Mathias will meet with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and with high-ranking government officials of the Russian Federation and will visit the higher educational institutions of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as churches and monasteries in Moscow and the Moscow Region.

***

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which belongs to the family of the Oriental Churches, received its autocephaly in 1959 from the Coptic Patriarchate. Today the Ethiopian Church is not only the largest Oriental Church, but also one of the largest Christian communities in the world. It has the membership of over 65 million people living in Ethiopia and in diaspora, mainly in the USA and Canada.

Christianity came to Ethiopia as far back as the 1st century AD, when Apostle Philip was preaching in those lands.

The relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Church were established in the middle and latter half of the 19th century, thanks to a large extent to the head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, Archimandrite Porfiry (Uspensky), who had gathered massive amount of information on the history, doctrine, liturgy and traditions of the Ethiopian Christians. The 1950s-80s were the decades of most intensive inter-church contacts, through the efforts of the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad and Novgorod. That period was marked by exchanges of official delegations, including the high-level ones. In those years the Ethiopian students studied at the educational institutions of the Moscow Patriarchate.

These days the contacts between the two Churches are intensifying again. In September 2011, in Addis Ababa Metropolitan Hilarion met with His Holiness Abune Paulos, predecessor of Patriarch Abune Mathias. In November 2017, a delegation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church visited Moscow, and in March 2018, a delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate arrived in Ethiopia to take part in the celebrations marking the 5th anniversary of enthronement of Patriarch Abune Mathias.

Abp. Evstratiy (Zorya) [UOC-KP] communes at OCA parish

For context, Evstratiy (Zorya) pictured with Filaret (head of "Kyivan Patriarchate")

In a surprising series of photos (posted on the parish website no less), Archbishop Evstratiy (Zorya) of the schismatic UOC-KP group visited an OCA parish in Virginia and communed in a Liturgy there. Considering the ties of the OCA to the Church of Russia and of the problems the UOC-MP is experiencing with others in Ukraine (UOC-KP, UAOC, UGCC), this is a decidedly odd - if not inflammatory - event. If anyone has any context for what happened at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, please do put something in the comment box.



Monday, May 14, 2018

Serbian Church glorifies three neo-martyrs

(spc.rs) - The regular meeting of the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church began on April 29, 2018 at the Patriarchate of Pec monastery with the joint serving of the holy hierarchical Divine Liturgy and the invocation of the Holy Spirit and continued at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade, under the presidency of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej. Participating in the Assembly were all diocesan hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

At the beginning of the meeting the Patriarch addressed all the hierarchs in attendance with introductory remarks in which he pointed to the essential issue in the life and mission of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the contemporary world, filled with both great spiritual challenges and temptations but also great possibilities for work on the spiritual renewal of the people.

The most crucial decision was the decision of establishing new feast days in the calendar of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which in turn, means in the calendar of the Orthodox Church as a whole. Namely, the Assembly unanimously deciced to canonize, add to the assembly of saints, three individuals who, because of their firm committment to their faith in Christ were killed by the Arnauts during the Turkish rule at the end of the 19th and the dawn of the 20th century, in Kosovo and Metohija, and they are the following:
  • Grigorije of Pec, a monk at Monastery Pec, as Hieromartyr, whose liturgical commemoration will be celebrated Janaury 22/February 7;
  • Vasilije, a baker from Pec, as a martyr, whose feast will be celebrated April 29/May 12,
  • Bosiljka Rajicic from the town of Pasjana near Gnjilana, as a martyr, whose podvig will be commemorated October 13/26,
  • and those who suffered with them.

Extremism and Terrorism conference held in St. Petersburg

(ROC) - On May 12, 2018, in keeping with a decision of the commission on theology and theological education of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Inter-Council Presence, a theological conference was held on Theological Understanding of the Phenomenon of Extremism and Terrorism, at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.

The aim of the conference was to involve ecclesial and secular experts in defining the notions of extremism, radicalism and terrorism from theological perspective and to consider possible ways of overcoming social deformations arising from the spread of world terrorism and growth of extremist moods.

The gathering in the academy assembly hall included members of the Inter-Council Presence commission on theology and theological education, experts, members of the St. Petersburg public chamber, municipal officials and students of the academy post-graduate courses.

The conference was opened by the rector of St. Petersburg Theological Academy and members of the Inter-Council Presence commission on theology and theological education, Archbishop Ambrose of Petergof.

In the beginning of the meeting, the conference was addressed by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), chairman of the Inter-Council Presence commission on theology and theological education and rector of the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post-Graduate Studies (CMI).

Among the attendees from the Inter-Council Presence commission were Bishop Gennady of Kaskelen, administrator of the Metropolitan District in Kazakhstan and rector of Alma-Ata Seminary; K. Antonov, head of the St. Tikhon Orthodox University of the Humanities chair of philosophy and religious aspects of culture; and A. Maler, lecturer at the State Academic University of the Humanities. Among those invited to attend were V. Martinovich, director of the Byelorussian Orthodox Church center for the studies of sects and head of the Minsk Theological Academy chair of apologetics; V. Laza, counsellor, Federal Agency for Nationality Affairs directorate for monitoring, analysis and prognosis; Ms. A. Astakhova, head of Kazan Federal University chair of religious studies; Archpriest George Joffe, associate professor at St. Petersburg Academy chair of church-practice disciplines.

The conference program included papers on such topics as the formulation of the notion of ‘religious extremism’, the difference between extremism carried out under religious slogans and radicalism and fundamentalism, mechanisms for detecting and eliminating risks involved in these problems and the role of religious education in opposing extremist activities. The participants will consider methodological problems of the theological analysis of extremist manifestations in the religious sphere and will familiarize themselves with materials developed by Local Orthodox Churches on manifestations of extremism covered up by religious rhetoric.

The conference is expected to adopt a communique in conclusion of its work.

Met. Rastislav met with Pope of Rome