Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/28/2009 (6 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Most observers of the growing warmth between the two churches received this news of the election of Patriarch Kirill with great hope.

The late Servant of God John Paul II spoke regularly of the need for the Church to breathe once again with “two lungs”, East and West. Patriarch Kirill’s election gives many, myself included, a growing hope that this day may be on the horizon. “May he have many years!”

The late Servant of God John Paul II spoke regularly of the need for the Church to breathe once again with “two lungs”, East and West. Patriarch Kirill’s election gives many, myself included, a growing hope that this day may be on the horizon. “May he have many years!”


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

1/28/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in Europe

MOSCOW (Catholic Online) - As observant Christians throughout the world watched and prayed, deeply aware of the importance of the choice of the next Russian Orthodox Patriarch, the delegates to the Synod in Moscow gathered. The event, bathed in prayer, was the venue for an historic vote to choose the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

The beautiful Cathedral of Christ the Savior hosted the gathering of electors. Not only the Orthodox world, but the Catholic world - indeed the entire Christian world - watched in hope as the proceedings unfolded. There is a growing recognition that we who bear the name Christian live in a new missionary age and need one another to be faithful to the task we now face in an increasingly secularized culture.

As is the custom, the tolling of the bells announced on Tuesday that the election was complete. First to toll was the bell referred to as the 'Czars Bell'. It was followed in sequence with the Bells chiming a melody dating back to the 17th century. The new Patriarch had been chosen!

As expected by many observers, Metropolitan Krill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad is now the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The highly regarded Metropolitan Kirill had served as the interim leader when the Office was vacant, the "guardian". When the ballots were counted, he had collected 72% of the votes of all who had assembled. To be elected Patriarch, the candidate must receive more than half of the votes.

Metropolitan Isidor, charged with certifying the results, stepped up to the beautiful ambo of the glorious Cathedral of Christ the Savior to proclaim that the Orthodox Christian faithful had a new Patriarch. The new Patriarch will be crowned next Sunday in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral and record crowds are expected.

This was the first election of a Patriarch since the fall of the atheist Communist regime which governed the former Soviet Union for so many years. The beloved Patriarch Alexy II died on Dec. 5, 2008 at the age of 79. He had served as the Russian Orthodox Patriarch since 1990.

The new Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill received a majority during the first round of votes. As is the custom, they were collected during a secret ballot of clergy. In accordance with the canonical procedure for Patriarchal election, the balloting then progressed to today's vote. Over 700 delegates, including members of the hierarchy, clergy, monks and lay faithful, had convened for this historic election.

The setting of Christ the Savior Cathedral is right within the view of the Kremlin. It holds a deep significance for the Russian Orthodox faithful. Under the brutal regime of Josef Stalin, the Cathedral had been demolished by dynamite in 1931. Its rebuilding in the 1990's stands as a symbol of a resurgent Orthodox Church in Russia and the growing hope for the revival of Orthodox Christianity around the world.

The new Patriarch is considered to be theologically and doctrinally solid and a man of deep faith. He is a champion of the Tradition and stalwart defender of the doctrine of the ancient Faith. He is also known to be very concerned over the moral decline of Russian, European and the broader western culture. Yet, some within the Church do not see him as "orthodox" enough. Most observers see this reticence as based upon a concern among some of the Orthodox faithful that he has shown openness to dialogue with the Holy See.

Patriarch Kirill is articulate and outspoken when it comes to his strong critique of the current decline of moral values, the hostility of the contemporary culture toward the Church and the growing rejection of Christian influence throughout the world. He has called upon Orthodox Christians to be actively involved in reclaiming the culture with the values informed by the ancient faith. In that work, he has also expressed his support for their collaboration with Catholics.

He served as the interim leader of the Church during the process leading up to the selecting a new Patriarch Tuesday. The day began with prayers invoking the Holy Spirit. The faithful gathered outside, carrying icons and chanting their prayers together. They beseeched the Holy Spirit to guide the process. Many carried banners expressing their faith and their hope. One expressed the sentiment of many in the crowd quite clearly. It read: "The Holy Spirit Will Point Out The Worthy One." By the end of the day most felt the Holy Spirit had indeed done just that.

The new Patriarch has hosted his own television program for over ten years entitled "Words of a Pastor". He is known as a wise and gifted teacher and preacher. Some reports have emphasized his recent comments reaffirming the doctrinal differences between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches as an indication that he is somehow not going to continue the dialogue with the Holy See. However, both Orthodox and Catholic leaders are well aware of those differences. Rather than an obstacle they believe such honesty provides a framework for making real progress in their efforts.

What is most promising is the rediscovery between Orthodox and Catholic Christians of one another as brothers and sisters in Christ with a mission. There is a recognition that there is much that joins theologically faithful Catholics and theologically faithful Orthodox today. Most observers of the growing warmth between the two churches received this news of the election of Patriarch Kirill with great hope.

The new Patriarch recently noted "in the Vatican and not only in the Vatican but all over the world, Catholics understand that Orthodox (people) are their allies. And Orthodox (people) are more and more coming to understand that Catholics are their allies in the face of hostile and non-religious secularism."

The late Servant of God John Paul II wrote and spoke regularly of the need for the Church to breathe once again with "two lungs", East and West. Patriarch Kirill's election gives many, myself included, a growing conviction that day may truly be on the horizon.

"May he have many years!"


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Europe

Pope Francis orders sweeping audit of the Vatican Watch

Image of Pope Francis continues to clean up the Vatican, making the Church more efficient and better able to minister to the needs of the poor and vulnerable.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis continues to clean up the Vatican, ordering a survey of all the city-state's finances. The unprecedented audit will reveal even more corruption and impose better controls on spending, while making more money available for charitable projects. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading

The unexpected thing one Syrian refugee did for Germany that will melt your heart Watch

Image of Syrian refugee Alex Assali fed the homeless outside Berlin's Alexanderplatz station in an effort to give back to the city that has helped him, and other refugees, so much (Imgur).


Amid fears of ISIS infiltration and Muslim takeovers, one Syrian refugee took a stand against prejudiced tensions and thanked the city of Berlin on behalf of all refugees. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Each Saturday, Alex Assali cooks and distributes food to ... continue reading

Concentration camps and Nazi language: Berlin guards caught on tape speaking unbelievably cruel about refugees Watch

Image of Berlin guards at the office for refugees have reportedly been recorded using Nazi language and suggesting refugees be sent to concentration camps (Markus Heine/ NurPhoto).


Videos have been released showing Berlin guards around the office for refugees using "Nazi language" and suggesting the refugees be sent to concentration camps. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Security guards working for private contractor Gegenbauer Security ... continue reading

SHOCK SHOW: Sacrilegious art exhibit in Spain uses 240 stolen consecrated hosts Watch

Image of Photos of the theft of the Hosts and their placement on the ground are shown in a public art gallery in Pamplona.

By Catholic News Agency

Critics of Pamplona's city council say it deliberately attacked Catholics and broke Spanish law by using city property to display a sacrilegious art exhibit with more than 240 stolen consecrated Hosts. Madrid, Spain (CNA) - The Spanish artist Abel Azcona stole ... continue reading

French Hostage Situation: Two armed suspects engage in shootout with French police Watch

Image of French police engaged in a shootout with two suspects armed with Kalashnikovs (Not pictured).


Two suspects armed with Kalashnikov rifles engaged in a shootout with French police in Toubaix, France. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The suspects are believed to have taken a bank director and his family hostage, but very little is currently known.[media ... continue reading

Vatican corruption: Journalists stand trial Watch

Image of Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi must stand trial at the Vatican for publishing confidential documents (Reuters).


Following the publication of books claiming the Holy See was mismanaged and spoiled through corruption, five people went on trial at the Vatican on Tuesday. Two of the five on trial were Italian Journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, neither of whom ... continue reading

Undercover reporter reveals secret FEMALE ISIS organization in Britain Watch

Image of One veiled ISIS sympathizer was filmed during the undercover investigation (Channel 4).


In a new British documentary titled The British Women Supporters Unveiled, one young female reporter goes undercover to infiltrate a secret Muslim organization designed to garner sympathy for the Islamic State. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The reporter, who uses ... continue reading

OUTRAGEOUS: Find out why The Lord's Prayer was BANNED from Just Pray movie theater ad Watch

Image of


An advertisement featuring the Lord's Prayer has been banned from movie theaters in England. According to the Church of England, the policy that prevents the prayer advertisement did not exist when they began production on the commercial. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Swiss farmer finds 4,000 extremely rare Roman coins in his orchard Watch

Image of The cache of coins is estimated to be more than 1,700 years old.


A Swiss farmer was tilling his orchard in Ueken, in the northern canton of Aargau, Switzerland, when he spotted something shiny on the ground. He had inadvertently stumbled across a treasure trove of Roman-era coins - 4,166 in all, some dating as back as 274 ... continue reading

Five people indicted by Vatican in 'Vati-leaks' scandal Watch

Image of Journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi (pictured), had both recently published books, citing specific Vatican documents detailing waste, mismanagement, and greed.


A judge, rendering a decision in a scandal involving Vatican finances has indicted five people, which include two journalists and a Vatican monsignor. Information linking the Vatican to financial malfeasance, as well as related graft and corruption called ... continue reading

All Europe News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Parents' Prayer For Their Children HD Video
  • St. Bibiana: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, December 02, 2015
  • Untrained AirAsia pilots takes blame for 162 passenger deaths ...
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, December 02, 2015
  • Prayer For Faith HD Video
  • You won't believe what happened to this pair of infant twins!
  • Pope Francis on condoms, fundamentalism and more

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 11:1-10
1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17
1 [Of Solomon] God, endow the king with your own fair judgement, the son ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:21-24
21 Just at this time, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, 'I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 1st, 2015 Image

St. Eligius
December 1: Eligius (also known as Eloi) was born around 590 ... Read More