Is Catholic-Orthodox Unity in Sight?

The Catholic Archbishop of Moscow has given a remarkably upbeat assessment of relations with the Orthodox Church, saying unity between Catholics and Orthodox could be achieved “within a few months.”

In an interview today in Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, Archbishop Paolo Pezzi said the miracle of reunification “is possible, indeed it has never been so close.” The archbishop added that Catholic-Orthodox reunification, the end of the historic schism that has divided them for a millennium, and spiritual communion between the two churches “could happen soon, within a few months.”

“Basically we were united for a thousand years,” Archbishop Pezzi said. “Then for another thousand we were divided. Now the path to rapprochement is at its peak, and the third millennium of the Church could begin as a sign of unity.” He said there were “no formal obstacles” but that “everything depends on a real desire for communion.”

On the part of the Catholic Church, he added, “the desire is very much alive.”

Archbishop Pezzi, 49, whose proper title is Metropolitan Archbishop of the Mother of God Archdiocese in Moscow, said that now there are “no real obstacles” on the path towards full communion and reunification. On issues of modernity, Catholics and Orthodox Christians feel the same way, he said: “Nothing separates us on bioethics, the family, and the protection of life.”

Also on matters of doctrine, the two churches are essentially in agreement. “There remains the question of papal primacy,” Archbishop Pezzi acknowledged, “and this will be a concern at the next meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Commission. But to me, it doesn’t seem impossible to reach an agreement.”

Prospects for union with the Orthodox have increased markedly in recent years with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, whose work as a theologian in greatly admired in Orthodox circles. Benedict is also without the burden of the difficult political history between Poland and Russia, which hindered Polish Pope John Paul II from making as much progress as he would have liked regarding Catholic-Orthodox unity.

Relations have also been greatly helped by the election of Patriarch Kirill I earlier this year as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is by far the largest of the national churches in the Orthodox Church. As the former head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external relations, Kirill met Benedict on several occasions before and after he became Pope, and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch is well acquainted with the Roman Curia and with Catholicism. (Source)

I think this is very optimistic. However, if it were to happen within my lifetime, it would be an occasion of great joy.

Both lungs of the Church will be breathing.


Abortion —> Dead.

2 thoughts on “Is Catholic-Orthodox Unity in Sight?

  1. The reason why this needs to happen – why we must all pray, fast and make every possible sacrifice for this to happen – is that I believe that if the Orthodox Churches were reunited with Rome in some way, that it could do wonders to help in fighting the culture of death.

    Catholic – Orthodox disunity has been a part so many of the fault lines in Europe, between Russia and the West, and in the Balkans. For this sort of reconciliation to take place, it would mean that Christianity unites Russia and Western Europe in a new way, that the churches can – together – offer real hope for the future of Europe and the world.

    Together, speaking with a unified voice, Catholic and Orthodox Christians would be better equipped to proclaim the Gospel to the world. So many people use the disunity of the church as an excuse. But for such a division to be overcome? Many people would stand up and pay attention. It would do more good to heal the wounds of humanity, and to lay a firm foundation for the future of mankind than anything else the church could do.

    But it is only possible through the grace of God – it will take miracles.

    God has brought this Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI to the Vatican for such a time as this. And I believe that he has brought the new Patriarch of Moscow, Kyril, to his office for such a time as this. Historically, it has been the Russian Church that has taken the hardest line in dealings with Rome. If Rome and Russia can become allies in a cause for the unity of the Church… well, well…

    If this happens, I will dance in the streets like David.

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