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

CHURCH SHOCKER: Gay and pedophile priests sent to monastery for 'sex cures' Watch

Image of In the wake of recent sex scandals, it has been discovered that the Vatican sends priests

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the wake of recent sex scandals, it has been discovered that the Vatican sends priests "with inappropriate sexual tendencies" to a special monastery in the Alps for a purported cure. It has been learned that homosexual, pedophile and drug addicted clergy ... continue reading

Anti-Semitic violence runs rampant through Europe Watch

Image of


A top European Union official has warned of increasing anti-Semitism in Europe, as there are mounting threats and attacks against Jews in Europe's member countries.  BRUSSELS, EUROPE (Catholic Online) - The Vice President of the European Commission, Frans ... continue reading

Is ancient Greek tomb for Alexander the Great's friend Hephaestion? Debate continues Watch

Image of After his death in 325 B.C., Alexander the Great reportedly ordered that shrines be constructed throughout the empire. Hephaestion died less than a year before the Macedonian leader.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri declared that the mysterious Amphipolis monument is a tomb to Hephaestion, Alexander the Great's best friend who died less than a year before Alexander did.Fragmentary inscriptions link the monument to Hephaestion. Other archaeologists ... continue reading

10,000 copies of Germany's constitution was printed in Arabic to help nearly 800,000 migrants integrate Watch

Image of


Germany translated the first 20 articles of its constitution, which concerns basic rights such as freedom of speech, into Arabic for refugees to learn in an attempt to help immigrants integrate. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the moment, Germany struggles to ... continue reading

Segregation of Jewish and Muslim pupils in a French school echoes chilling Nazi segregation Watch

Image of


Jewish and Muslim students at the Piedallous primary school in Auxere, Burgundy were ordered to wear disks around their necks. The incident brought with it memories of Nazi segregation and caused an uproar. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - Daily Mail ... continue reading

German refugee camps plagued with rape and child abuse Watch

Image of The European migrant crisis continues to grow. Rape and sexual abuse are already being reported inside German refugee camps.


Rape and sexual abuse is now becoming a major problem in several German refugee asylums as the country tries to cope with their migrant crisis. HOLLYWOOD, CA (Catholic Online) - Refugees are facing several problems inside overcrowded refugee centers across the country ... continue reading

OVERRUN AND OUT OF PATIENCE: Immigrants quickly wear out welcome in Germany Watch

Image of In Germany, there are a few terrorist agents mixed in with those who say they are fleeing the brutal persecution of Islamic State, when in fact they themselves are ISIS.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Germany was lauded by the international community for taking in the large influx of immigrants feeling violence in Syria and Iraq. However . this generosity has a heavy price. Many of these so-called immigrants have left their native lands to make their ... continue reading

Expert confident forensic remains of fabled 'Mona Lisa' found Watch

Image of Most everyone is familiar with the image of a young woman with an enigmatic smile, her hands folded on her lap.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," perhaps the world's most famous painting, has cast a spell across the imagination. Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, is thought to have been the portrait's model. Bone fragments have ... continue reading

British mother of six brutally assaulted in acid attack Watch

Image of Thirty-seven-year-old Carla Whitlock says that she is still trying to come to terms with how her life has been changed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In what is common in India - but most unusual in the United Kingdom, a 37-year-old mother of six is struggling to come to terms after suffering a vicious acid attack. Witnesses saw her face visibly melt, and doctors say she will probably lose the sight in one ... continue reading

EU holds summit to discuss migrant crisis Watch

Image of The migrant crisis has resulted in over 160,000 eligible refugees with no country to settle in.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

European Union leaders met in a summit Wednesday evening in Brussels to talk about reinforcing surveillance of the frontiers, particularly sea routes into Greece where hundreds of refugees die in the midst of attempts to reach Greek islands. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA ... 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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 4:1-11
1 This made Jonah very indignant; he fell into a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 86:3-4, 5-6, 9-10
3 take pity on me, Lord, for to you I cry all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:1-4
1 Now it happened that he was in a certain place ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 7th, 2015 Image

St. Artaldus
October 7: Artaldus (also called Arthaud) was born in the castle of ... Read More