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Monday, February 23, 2009

The Pope and the Russian Patriarch- barriers remain to meeting

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kathweb Nachrichten .:. Katholische Presseagentur Österreich

The obstacles to a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI. and the new Moscow Patriarch Cyril I have not yet been eliminated. The Russian Orthodox Bishop in Vienna, Hilarion (Alfejew) emphasized this in a TV interview. Bishop Hilarion said: "The possibility of a meeting between Pope and Patriarch was also never excluded by Aleksij II . But there are still obstacles, especially given the cases of proselytism (i.e. the poaching of believers)." In this context, the Russian Orthodox bishop in Vienna cited the establishment of Greek-Catholic parishes in all parts of Ukraine. First, the need for a common position on the question of proselytism should be developed, only then could the encounter between Pope and Patriarch take place. Patriarch Cyril I wanted such a meeting as soon as possible, but he was also convinced that this is "not necessarily going to bebefore TV cameras ". It was not about a date, but the objectives of a meeting between Pope and Patriarch, said the Vienna Russian Orthodox bishop. If the meeting was well prepared, it could actually bring about a "breakthrough" in bilateral relations between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Church.
The Oxford educated, Bishop Hilarion is also the Russian Orthodox representative to the EU.
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