Posted on: Monday, November 26, 2007 at OrthodoxEurope.org:
Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad: Orthodox Church May Set Up Alliance with Catholics
The Moscow Patriarchate has noticed the intensification of its contacts with the Catholics during Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate and suggested that alliance between the two churches could theoretically be set up in the future.
“After Benedict XVI was elected pope and declared the development of dialogue with the Orthodox Church among the priorities of his pontificate, bilateral relations between our churches have noticeably enlivened,” Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, said in a report he presented at an inter-religious conference in Naples.
Both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches “understand more clearly today than they have ever done before the importance of their joint testimony to the secular world about Christian values, which this world is trying to marginalize,” Metropolitan Kirill said.
He noted that the proposal to set up a Catholic-Orthodox alliance produced mixed reaction in the Protestant world. However, he said, this proposal is based on the objective tendency towards deeper cooperation between Catholics and Orthodox and does not presuppose an alliance “against someone.” “As regards the so-called alliance, I do not think that we should talk about some inter-Christian organization today, although it would be wrong to absolutely rule out the establishment of such an organization,” Metropolitan Kirill said.
Under the word “alliance”, he specified, one may understand “the possibility of a more coordinated and structured interaction between the Churches, primarily in their relations with the secular world and non-Christian religions. For a successful dialogue with the others there should be from the very outset a higher level of agreement among Churches and Christian communities than the one that exists today in the framework of the ecumenical dialogue.” For example, according to Metropolitan Kirill, it is unlikely that the full-scale dialogue between Christians and Muslims which is so necessary today will be successful “while deep contradictions remain among Christians in the sphere of anthropology and ethics.”
The doors of such an alliance between the Orthodox and Catholic believers “cannot be categorically closed to our Protestant brothers,” Metropolitan Kirill said.