Thursday, June 19, 2008

On ecumenism and the Russian Orthodox Church

Some have called His Holiness, Patriarch Alexius II a bit of an isolationist (put that mirror away). He has nothing on His Excelleny, Bishop Diomid of Chutotka. I suggest reading Voices from Russia repost of Bishop Hilarion's (of Vienna and Austria) opinion of Bishop Dimoid's statements.

Moscow, June 19 (Interfax) - The Chukotka diocesan council headed by Bishop Diomid has urged to give up the dialogue with authorities and adherents of other teachings, but the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations believes it harmful.

Chukotka clerics have recently come up with this initiative as they protest against the DECR's dialogue with authorities and other confessions and religions. According to Chukotka priests, it negatively influences the purity of Orthodox faith.

DECR Deputy Chairman Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin believes such views are deeply ignorant, Interfax-Religion has reported.

"Isolation is always a sign of weakness while rejection of professional dialogue always means defeat and death. If you step back and retreat to isolation, you will become an easy pray for those you are hiding from." Well said.

Fr. Vsevolod confessed that he would have experienced "great joy" if the DECR had been abolished as it would give him more time for pastor work, for reflections and actions that could help solve many church problems of the 21st century. Perhaps, he could try to educate youth and organize his own theological school.

"However, I can't imagine how people who suggest abolishing the Department for External Church Relations will act if they become responsible for building relations of our Church with external forces the DECR try to cooperate with."

According to Fr. Vsevolod, "if we don't build relations with these forces, our Church would soon face the hardest strike: inner explosion, subordination to secular authorities and conversion of some believers in other religions and confessions - this scenario is more than real."

"It's incautious to think that there's a chance to hide from the necessity to build relations with external world in a cave. It's impossible to hide, anyway they will reach you and worm into your soul," the priest stressed.

According to him, if the Church doesn't lead dialogue with authorities of various countries, with other confessions, religions, with political and public world "it will soon become helpless."

Bishop Diomid of Anadyr and Chukotka became notorious last year after his introduction to the unpublished book was issued. It contained sharp criticism of Patriarch Alexy II and other clerics for the their contacts with authorities and ecumenical dialogue.

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