Saturday, October 1, 2011

An interview with Met. Hilarion on his visit to Rome

(RV) - Pope Benedict on Thursday met at Castel Gandolfo with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s department for external relations, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. The Orthodox archbishop, a noted theologian, Church historian and composer, spent the past two days meeting with Vatican officials to discuss the ongoing dialogue between the two Churches.

Since he took over in this key post, Metropolitan Hilarion has met twice before with the Pope in September 2009 and again when he organised a concert in honour of the pontiff in May 2010. Though there was no official communiqué following the private encounter, their talks were part of the ongoing improvement in relations between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches, as Metropolitan Hilarion himself told Philippa Hitchen at the end of his two day visit to the Vatican…

“His Holiness is a man of faith and whenever I meet with him I’m encouraged by his spirit, his courage and his dedication to the life of the Church worldwide. Of course I’m very impressed by his knowledge of the Orthodox tradition and the attention he pays to the dialogue between the Catholics and the Orthodox...I believe that this attitude of the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church will greatly help us in our way towards better mutual understanding

We do not have a very clear picture of what should be the role of the primate within the Orthodox tradition and without this clear and unified vision we cannot easily discuss how we see the role of ‘primus inter pares’ within the universal Church...

We believe that such a meeting (between Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill) will take place some time in the future but we are not yet ready to discuss the date or the place or the protocol, because what matters for us primarily is the content of this meeting….. It requires a very careful preparation and we should not be hurrying up or be pressed to have this meeting at a particular point in time."


  1. I would love to see this happen but you know how it goes........
    The Catholics will get all exited (again!) and claim reunion is just around the corner and the Orthodox will be all douer and sour (again!) and say it's just PR and BS and the Pope is the Anti-Christ - oh wait - that's the Protestants, anyway they will probably both pass beyond the veil before it happens and then we start all over again!

  2. Somehow, I see a need for Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to be involved if a meeting does eventually occur between Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill.

    After all, Patriarch Bartholomew is "first among equals" -- or the highest ranking patriarch -- within the Eastern Orthodox Church by virtue of his position of Patriarch of Constantinople.

    Without Patriarch Bartholomew attending such an important meeting, I really do not believe that anything productive toward Catholic-Orthodox unity can take place.

  3. Matthew M, it's not just the Protestants. Those fellas up in Athos think so too.

    Seen this icon?

    I kinda like it. Here's the explanation.