Friday the 26th of February

...to the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Catholic theologian urges closer ties with Russian Orthodox

A prominent Catholic ecumenist has urged a better understanding of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Those suspicious of the Russian Orthodox stance should go and see what’s happening,” said Barbara Hallensleben, a consultor with the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

“Of course, nationalist and ideological tendencies are always at work. But a lot of people in Russia are promoting Christianity – and by creating relations, we can strengthen Church life and proclaim the faith with them,” said Hallensleben, who hosted anniversary commemorations of Pope Francis’ 2016 meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.

The anniversary symposium at Switzerland’s University of Fribourg on 12th February included participation by Cardinal Kurt Koch, head of the Christian unity council, and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the Russian Orthodox church’s foreign relations director.

In a Catholic News Service interview on 13th February, Hallensleben said Pope Francis’ encounter with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Cuba had initiated “new common paths.”

Picture: Pope Francis greets Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of external relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, during a private meeting in 2016 at the Vatican. A prominent Catholic ecumenist has urged a better understanding of the Russian Orthodox Church. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano).