Thursday, February 28, 2013

Praise for Pope Benedict from Russian Orthodox Church

The abdication of Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) came as a surprise to the entire Christian world, including representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). Noting the tremendous progress made between the different Christian traditions under his papacy, experts believe that, whoever is elected to lead the Catholic Church, relations with the ROC will not suffer.

The official position of the ROC was stated by the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk. He suggested that, in the face of serious challenges requiring new stimuli, the pope is naturally giving way to a younger and more dynamic successor.

"Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign can be regarded as an act of personal courage and humility," read the statement issued by the head of the DECR. "The Orthodox Church is grateful to the outgoing pontiff for his understanding of the obstacles that lie in the way of fully normalized relations between the Orthodox and Catholic churches, especially in western Ukraine."

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