Status of the Orthodox-Catholic Group in Russia
Interview With Father Igor Kowalewskj
MOSCOW, SEPT. 14, 2004 (Zenit) - Last February, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II created a "working group" to study the differences the two Churches have in Russia.
In this interview, Father Igor Kowalewskj, Catholic spokesman of the working group, explains how this work is carried out.
Q: How has the first phase of the Commission's work developed?
Father Kowalewskj: At the request of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, we have examined some cases that might be interpreted as proselytism. Analyzing these cases, we are trying to elaborate a code of conduct for the two Churches.
The Russian Orthodox Church already knows that neither the Vatican nor Russian Catholic bishops have a strategy of proselytism. Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk, responsible for the patriarchate's international relations, said so during his visit to Poland in April.
There are cases, however, which for lack of information might be interpreted as proselytism. Our working group is studying these cases to improve relations between the two Churches. The first meeting of the working group, here in Moscow, took place from May 5-7; the next will be held in the second half of September.
Q: Who makes up this working group?
Father Kowalewskj: On the Catholic side is, also, Father Joseph Maj, member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Jean-François Thiry, director of the Bibliotheque de l'Esprit Cultural Center in Moscow.
Representing the Orthodox is Archpriest Vsevelod Chaplin, vice president of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Moscow Patriarchate; Father Igor Vyzhanov, responsible for relations with the Catholic Church; and Father Ivan Lapidus.
Q: What are your expectations and hopes for the next meeting?
Father Kowalewskj: The atmosphere of the first meeting was very friendly and we hope that with these meetings relations between are Churches will improve, both at the informal as well as the formal level.
Q: Orthodox Father Igor Vyzhanov has spoken about the spirit of work of this commission, saying that it is a first, very important, concrete step to improve relations. What is your opinion?
Father Kowalewskj: I totally share Father Vyzhanov's hopes, but it is also very important that we study concrete cases to elaborate a code of conduct for the faithful of the Catholic Church.
I hope that this policy of generic accusations on the invasion of canonical territories or on proselytism will be put to one side and that we, here, as religious minority, will be able to confess our faith and collaborate with the Orthodox Church.
We have things to learn from the Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church has things to learn from us Catholics. I myself have very good relations with Father Vyzhanov at the informal level; at the formal level they are somewhat colder.
Q: In your opinion, what is the role of the Catholic Church here, in Russia, if it cannot be very active in the field of evangelization?
Father Kowalewskj: The Catholic Church has always been a minority Church and it will continue to be so. This is why we wish to have opportunities to confess our faith in a normal manner, as in any other country.
Living here, in the midst of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church has always been able to make a specific contribution to Russian culture, especially in charitable and educational activities. This is the specificity of the presence of the Catholic Church in Russia. We can share many things with the Orthodox Church.
Q: How many Catholics and priests are there in Russia?
Father Kowalewskj: In the whole Russian Federation there are 250 parishes and some 300 priests, the majority of whom are in the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, given that most of the Russian population is here, in Moscow, and that most Catholics also live here.
It is very difficult to establish the number of Catholics who live in Russia, as we don't know all of them and not all of them go to Mass. But I don't think that there are more than 600,000 Catholics in the whole Russian territory. We are really a minority. All together, the Protestant communities are more numerous than the Catholic.
It would be absurd and even paranoid to think that we Catholics can convert Russia to Catholicism. There is no strategy for Russia's conversion. And even if we wanted to, we would never be able to do such a work.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Russia, Orthodox, Catholic, Vatican, Bishops, Priests
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Pope Saint Damasus I: Saint of the Day for Monday, December 11, 2017
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 HD Video
- Vatican concerned over President Trump's decision in Israel
- Prepare for the Lord: Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the ...
- After 100 years of construction, the largest Catholic church in ...
- Here's how Pope Francis wants to change the Lords Prayer HD Video
- Daily Readings for Monday, December 11, 2017
- Daily Reading for Monday, December 11th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, December 10th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, December 9th, 2017 HD
- 200,000 people evacuated as California burns HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way