Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/24/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

There is a growing resurgence of the Orthodox Christian faith in Russia

There is a growing recognition that there is more that joins theologically faithful Catholics and theologically faithful Orthodox than that which separates us. The cultural decline compels our collaboration in Christ. It is leading us to a growing mutual respect which may pave the way toward some form of restored communion. Patriarch Kirill sees the Orthodox and Catholic Churches as "sister churches". That is a welcome sign of the work of the Holy Spirit. We ask our readers around the globe to pray for the Patriarch and for Christians in Russia. 

Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict XVI

Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict XVI

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/24/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Patriarch Kirill, Kirrill, Russian orthodox, Catholic and Orthodox, Putin, Christ the Savior Cathedral, ecumenism, Deacon Keith Fournier


MOSCOW (Catholic Online) - We welcomed the selection of Patriarch Kirill as the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia in 2009. It 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. We, along with millions the world over, hoped it was a sign of the revitalization of the ancient faith in this critical time in history.

Patriarch Kirill is theologically and doctrinally solid - said to be a man of deep faith and courage. He is a champion of the authentic Orthodox Christian Tradition and a stalwart defender of the doctrine of the ancient Christian Faith of the First Millennium - before the first split in the Church occurred.

He is outspoken in his concern over the moral decline in Russian, European and broader western culture. He is also dedicated to doing something about it - leading a resurgence of authentic Christianity and a new missionary undertaking to Russian culture.

In an insightful analysis written for Catholic Online shortly after the Patriarchs enthronement entitled Patriarch Kirill & Pope Benedict: A Tale of Two Leaders for a new Missionary Age Orthodox priest Fr Johannes L. Jacobse, the editor of Orthodoxy Today and President of the American Orthodox Institute opined,

"Patriarch Kirill is a theological conservative in the mold of Pope Benedict. Both see religion as the wellspring of culture. Both understand that Europe cannot escape a final capitulation to tyranny if it does not rediscover its Christian roots."

Since his enthronement, Patriarch Kirill has offered his voice of clarity and authority to the growing Catholic and Orthodox critique of the decline of moral values and the hostility of the contemporary culture toward the Church. He openly decries the growing rejection of Christian influence throughout the world. He warns of the the dangers that such a rejection present to civilization and authentic freedom.

Patriarch Kirill has repeatedly called upon Orthodox Christians to be actively involved in reclaiming the culture with the values informed by the ancient faith. Shortly after his selection, the Patriarch noted that, "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."

His first message to the faithful - and to the world as millions watched by television and internet - emphasized his commitment to reaching out to the young, his dedication to working with those whom he called the "sister churches" and his strong intention to combat "moral relativism".  The elements of that message echoed much in the mission of Pope Benedict XVI. 

One of many signs of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Third Christian Millennium is the rediscovery between Orthodox and Catholic Christians of our common Baptismal bond as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. I am numbered among a growing number who believe that the Holy Spirit is gathering a movement of Orthodox and Catholic Christians to collaborate in this critical hour.

There is a growing recognition that there is more that joins theologically faithful Catholics and theologically faithful Orthodox than that which separates us. The urgency of the cultural decline compels our collaboration in Christ. It is also leading us to a growing mutual respect which may pave the way toward some form of restored communion.  

Polls in Russia indicated that only 5 percent of Russians were observant in the practice of their Orthodox Christian faith when the Patriarch was enthroned. Less than 30 percent expressed their commitment to following the moral teaching of the Church.

The Patriarchs' call for exposing this moral disintegration and remedying its effects on Russian culture through a resurgence of the faith shows how much the new Patriarch shares with his brother, Pope Benedict XVI. The growing resurgence of the Orthodox faith indicates his work is bearing fruit.

Patriarch Kirill has faced opposition within the Orthodox Church for his dialogue with the Catholic Church. However, he has showed no sign of retreat, particularly in joint efforts aimed at stemming the growing spread of the culture of death and the sordid fruit of moral relativism. Before he was elevated to the Patriarchate, he was responsible for dialogue with the Holy See. he has continued that dialogue.

Pope Benedict XVI sent an especially meaningful gift to the new Patriarch when he was enthroned, a chalice with which he now consecrates the blood of Christ. He expressed his hope in these words, "It is my earnest hope that we will continue to cooperate in finding ways to foster and strengthen communion in the body of Christ in fidelity to our savior's prayer that all may be one so that the world may believe".

Asia news reported that between 40,000 and 65,000 of the lay faithful and Orthodox priests gathered in Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow for a day of Prayer on April 22, 2012 at the request of the Patriarch. He led the historic event.   

Media reports in Russia reflect some hostility in the Russian media toward the Patriarch. In late February a punk rock girl group performed a musical "punk prayer" concert in the Cathedral. The Patriarch was vocal in his condemnation of the event, calling it blasphemous.

Some in the Russian media do not like his opposition to the performance and paint him as some kind of enemy of free expression. Some question his alleged support of Putin, though he has questioned the recent elections and distanced himself from the leader. Most simply appear to find his open, persistent and vocal condemnation of what he calls a dangerous moral decline in Russia offensive. 

The Patriarch gave his perspective on the media's hostility toward him, telling a reporter "We are under attack by anti-Russian forces. The danger is that blasphemy and mockery of religion are presented as a legitimate expression of human freedom, which must be protected in modern society." Of course, he sees such acts as a misuse and abuse of freedom.

His call for this day of prayer, as well as the response of the Orthodox faithful, reflect Kirill's growing influence in Russia.  Asia news interviewed Olga Golubeva, 54, a lawyer, who participated in the procession and prayer gathering. She said, "I came here because there is a risk that Russia will return to its past without God,"

Another participant, Alexei Makarkin, an analyst with the Center for political technologies in Moscow told them, "The Church needs this kind of events to prove it has more supporters than detractors - but also to consolidate the support of clergy and faithful."

We certainly do not know the full story of what is happening in the current political climate of Russia. However, we do have confidence in sources which continue to affirm that this Patriarch is a man of deep Christian faith who seeks to lead of resurgence of Orthodoxy in Russia.

Patriarch Kirill has a genuine respect for the Catholic Church. He sees the Orthodox and Catholic Churches as "sister churches". That is a welcome sign of the work of the Holy Spirit. We ask our readers around the globe to pray for the Patriarch and for all Christians in Russia.

The return of Christianity to Russia is a welcome turn of history. It should give us hope for our own Nation as we face the effects of moral relativism, secularism and the growing hostility toward Christianity.

---


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


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Europe

Forced into prostitution: Greece's economic crisis has married women, mothers hitting streets Watch

Image of The situation of Grecian streets is worsening, as many of the Greek women now turning to prostitution don't bear even a passing resemblance to the drug-addled stereotype of the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Greece, at the heart of the European economic crisis of a few years past, has elected the "anti-austerity" organization the Syriza Party into office. Mass unemployment remains, with more than 50 percent on the nation's young people without work. An even seedier ... continue reading


The first tax revolt: 800 years later, the Magna Carta stands boldly as spiritual predecessor to the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution Watch

Image of A copy of the Magna Carta on display.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

This year will mark the eighth centennial of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede near Windsor, on June 15, 2015. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Magna Carta was one of the first documents that limited the power of the English crown, and ... continue reading


VIDEO: 70 years later, drone flies over infamous death camps showing the shocking and HORRIBLE extent of Nazi death camps Watch

Image of The gates of the Auschwitz death camp, which in English say

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In 2015, more than 1,500 survivors of the Holocaust returned to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland to mark the 60th anniversary of the death camp's liberation by Soviet troops. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On January 27, event organizers are ... continue reading


FEAR GRIPS VATICAN: 'Islamic State is clear. They want to kill the Pope' Watch

Image of Pope Francis has frequently spoken out against the Islamic State group. The Holy See has also voiced its support for U.S. air strikes in Iraq. This has led several to think that this increases the Pope's likelihood as a terrorist target.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican is under heightened concern that a terrorist attack may be imminent. Iraq's ambassador to the Holy See, Habib Al Sadr, at the time warned that "what has been declared by the self-declared Islamic State is clear. They want to kill the Pope. The ... continue reading


Is Hitler funny? Leader of far-right German party steps down over inappropriate selfie Watch

Image of PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) is a German far-right group which is for deporting or denying entry for Muslims into Europe.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks earlier this month, as well as the numerous acts of terror perpetrated by Muslims throughout Europe over the last several years, Germany is seeing a resurgence of far-right radical groups whose attitudes and ... continue reading


Incredible footage of Lamborghini crashing at 200 MILES PER HOUR! Watch

Image of A Lamborghini Huracan crashed on the M7 motorway going 208 miles per hour. Both passenger and driver survived.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hungarian police have released footage of the first ever Lamborghini Huracan crash at more than 200 miles per hour. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In 2014 it was reported that a crash over 200mph occurred. A Huracan registered in the Czech Republic hit a barrier ... continue reading


Five bodies found in ancient tomb - could they be Alexander the Great and his mother? Watch

Image of Many experts have discounted the Alexander theory. They say the ancient emperor was more likely buried in Egypt.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologists have unearthed bones from at least five people in an uncovered ancient tomb in Greece. Among those discovered was a woman aged over 60, a newborn baby, two men aged between 35 and 45 years of age and another adult of indeterminate age. Since the ... continue reading


If European cities say so - Uber Taxi could create 50,000 jobs Watch

Image of Uber Taxi has been hit with court injunctions in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. Uber has also faced protests from taxi firms in major cities, including London.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Travis Kalanick, chief executive officer of Uber Taxi said in Munich that Uber Taxi could create 50,000 jobs as part of a "new partnership" with European cities. Kalanick says he wants to make 2015 a year of rapid expansion in Europe. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Why the Islamic State's systematic recruitment of European Muslims is a threat to us all Watch

Image of Lone Wolf terrorism is a new symptom of the Islamist war against Western nations and their values.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Muslims from countries in the Middle East make up the largest percentage of members of the Islamic State and other radical Islamist groups. Local Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa constitute the core membership of most Islamist groups; but a new trend is ... continue reading


Will Greece's emergency elections spell the end for European recovery? Watch

Image of Protests, violence and demonstrations from the Greek liberal and leftists threaten the fledgling recovery of the struggling Greek economy.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Greece has faced a struggling economy for the better part of a decade, since the worldwide recession hit back in 2008 and 2009, though amplified starting in 2010. Through these turbulent years, unemployment, government corruption and welfare requests have ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:19-25
19 We have then, brothers, complete confidence ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:21-25
21 He also said to them, 'Is a lamp brought in to be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 29th, 2015 Image

Sts. Sarbelius & Barbea
January 29: Two martyrs, brother and sister, who were put to death at Edessa ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter