Apostolic Nuncio: Meeting of Patriarch of Moscow and Pope Could BecomeIcon of 21st Century


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KYIV - In answer to the question of a correspondent of Week information agency about a possible meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and the Moscow's statements that the meeting is obstructed by problems connected with the situation between the Orthodox of the Moscow Patriarchate and Greek Catholics in Western Ukraine, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovich stressed that such a meeting is very important as it will be the first one in history. RISU's Ukrainian-language web site posted this story on January 22, 2010.

"The meeting of the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow will be an event of special significance for both the Catholic Church and the Moscow Patriarchate. It never happened in history. Such a meeting could become an icon of the 21st century. One should note that at the official level, the Holy See and Russian Federation have recently established full diplomatic relations. Of no less importance is the fact that the Catholic Church and the Moscow Patriarchate promote identical positions as to firmness of moral and religious values and the support of the Christian identity of the European continent."

As for whether it is worth while to sacrifice the interests and feelings of the five million Greek Catholics of Ukraine who have proven their loyalty to the Apostolic See during the years of persecutions, for the sake of such an icon, the nuncio believes that "this should be viewed from the viewpoint of the ecumenical context."

"We should not even discuss the claims of the Moscow Patriarchate as to the return of Orthodox parishes to Greek Catholics in Western Ukraine, even though we consider them unjust. It is better not to discuss what, how, and why it happened. Someone can call it naïve optimism. But optimism is always wise," answered the archbishop.

As for the unity of churches, the archbishop stressed that all popes in the 20th century spoke in their spiritual testaments about the inevitability of Christian unity.