Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Word from Moscow

As I expected and posted about earlier, Russia was not happy with Ravenna.

Moscow, May. 20, 2008 (CWNews.com) - The Russian Orthodox Church has officially rejected a doctrinal statement approved by a joint Catholic-Orthodox theological commission at a meeting in Ravenna, Italy last October.

The Ravenna meeting reached agreement that the Bishop of Rome traditionally enjoyed primacy among all the world's bishops, of both the Eastern and Western churches. While Vatican officials hailed the agreement as an important ecumenical landmark, they cautioned that the Catholic and Orthodox churches have a different understanding of primacy. Indeed the Ravenna document noted "differences of understanding with regard to the manner in which it is to be exercised, and also with regard to its scriptural and theological foundations."

The Russian Orthodox rejection of the Ravenna statement is not a surprise, since representatives of the Moscow patriarchate were critical of the document when it first appeared. Russian prelates said that the Ravenna agreement implied that the Patriarch of Constantinople was the leader of the Orthodox world, just as the Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church. The Moscow patriarchate, which has often contested Constantinople's leadership, rejected that idea.

In January, Patriarch Alexy of Moscow charged that the Ravenna meeting had been "deliberately orchestrated to exclude the Moscow patriarchate." In fact, Russian Orthodox representatives walked out of the meeting before discussions began, protesting the seating of a delegation from the Estonian Orthodox Church, which Moscow does not recognize.

1 comment:

  1. Not entirely unexpected, but still a setback nonetheless. The recognition of the existence of such a thing a universal primacy was a real breakthrough on the Orthodox side, although Metropolitan Zizioulas has posited such a theological opinion in the past when he commented on the inter-relation between synodality and primacy.

    I wonder whether this rejection by the MP is theological or administrative, ie no representation. I would like to hear their theological objections to an actual effective exercised universal primacy.