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Showing posts with label Patriarch Kirill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patriarch Kirill. Show all posts

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Russian Orthodox Church Adds St Patrick To Its Calendar

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (Photo: Getty)

From The Catholic Herald (UK)
The patron saint of Ireland was one of 15 names added to the Russian Orthodox menology

The Russian Orthodox Church has added St Patrick to its calendar of saints.

The fifth-century saint, known as the apostle of Ireland, was one of 15 names added to the Russian Orthodox menology.

The saints all lived in western and central Europe prior to the Great Schism of 1054.

Dr Vladimir Legoida, the head of communications for the Russian Orthodox synod, told Pravmir there was evidence the new saints had been venerated by Russian Orthodox faithful in the west and by other national Orthodox churches.

Another factor they took into account, he said, was whether or not the saints had been used in polemics between Catholics and Orthodox.

“We took account the immaculateness of devotion of each saint, the circumstances in which their worship took shape, and the absence of the saints’ names in the polemic works on struggle against the Eastern Christian Church or its rite,” Dr Legoida said.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Declares Worldwide ‘Holy War’ on Terrorism

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, foreground, addresses the 2nd Moscow Cadet Parade dedicated to the 71st anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Moscow. © Iliya Pitalev / Sputnik
From RT News

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has called the fight against terrorism a “holy war” and urged international unity and an abandoning of double standards to defeat this global evil.

Today, when our warriors take part in combat operations in the Middle East, we know that this is not an aggression, occupation or an attempt to impose some ideology on other people, this has nothing to do with supporting certain governments,” Patriarch Kirill said as he held the Friday mass at the major Moscow memorial to those who fought in World War II. “This is the fight against the fearsome foe that is currently not only spreading evil through the Middle East but also threatening the whole of mankind.”

He added: “Today, we call this evil terrorism.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Patriarch Kirill Asks Iraq President to Protect Christians

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
Moscow, October 14, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has urged Iraqi President Fuad Masum to intervene in the plight of Iraqi Christians.

"Iraqi Christians are in a state close to despair, and many of them are looking at the option of leaving not only Iraq but the Middle East in general forever. The disappearance of Christianity from this ancient region would have disastrous consequences for the entire world," the Russian church's foreign relations service quoted Patriarch Kirill as saying in a letter to Masum.

"Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians and members of other religious communities have had to leave their homes under pressure from militants. The life of the refugees, who have been deprived of all their property, represents a humanitarian catastrophe," the patriarch said.

He also brought up the case of former Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz, who has been in jail for 11 years and last month asked the international community to press Iraqi authorities to release him.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Patriarch of Moscow: Great Expectations for Francis’ Pontificate

Kirill met with the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, and proposed closer collaboration with the Vatican on the Middle East and traditional values.

Moscow ( AsiaNews) - The Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill, yesterday confirmed the "great expectations" placed in the new Pope and a "common understanding" between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church during his meeting with the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal . Kurt Koch. The cardinal has concluded his visit to Russia, where he arrived December 14 and where he had meetings with not only the local community but also with representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill Praises Pope Emeritus for “Uncompromising and Consistent” Leadership

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia has thanked Pope Benedict XVI for his uncompromising position on faith issues and wished him strength, the patriarch's press service reported on Friday.

From Voice of Russia, Interfax

"In these days, which are special to you, I would like to express feelings of brotherly love in Christ and respect," the patriarch said in his message to the pontiff.

The patriarch said the decision made by Benedict XVI to step down from his post, which the pope announced "with humility and simplicity" on February 11, drew "a lot of response" in the hearts of millions of Catholics.

"Your uncompromising and consistent position on issues relating to faith and your adherence to the living church traditions have always been close to us. At a time when the ideology of permissiveness and moral relativism is trying to cause people to lose moral values, you boldly raised your voice in defense of evangelical ideals and high human dignity, calling on people to become free from sin," Patriarch Kirill said.

Patriarch Kirill said it is with warmth that he recalls his meetings with Joseph Ratzinger before his election as pope.

Patriarch Kirill believes the relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, "which bear great responsibility for testifying Christ to the modern world," received "a new impetus" in the years of the service of Benedict XVI.

Patriarch Kirill said he is hoping "the good and close relations between Orthodox and Catholic Christians," which developed with active participation by Benedict XVI, will continue developing under his successor.

"Accept my sincere wishes of good health, long life, and God's help in your prayer and theological work," the patriarch said in his message to Benedict XVI.

Benedict XVI voluntarily left his post as pope on February 28. Such things have not happened in the Vatican for almost 600 years. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in the 1415.

Benedict XVI intends to settle down in a monastery in the Vatican. He will not take part in church management and will dev vote his life wholly to prayer and thinking.

In his last address to believers, Benedict XVI said: "This day is different from other days. I will not be pope anymore, I will be a pilgrim undertaking his last stage of pilgrimage on this earth. This day has brought great joy to me. I am ready to serve God with all my heart, prayers, and thoughts, and all my internal forces. I bless you in the name of the Holy Spirit," he said.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Russian Patriarch: No True Progress Apart from Moral Norms

Lamenting the problems that afflict Russian society-- “corruption, disrespect for the law, alcoholism, drug addiction, criminality, the crisis of the family”-- the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said that efforts at “modernization” will fail unless they take moral norms into account.

“Modernization without a moral dimension turns to [the] unrestrained pursuit of temporary goods and pleasures, heartless technocracy, [and] results in perverted relations between people,” said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

State authorities, the patriarch added, need to recognize the indispensable role that civil associations play in renewing society. While the “actions of state authorities are absolutely necessary, these problems can't be solved only from above, without participation of people, without creative activity of an ordinary person, without people's capability to self-organization, to creating what we call institutes of civil society,” he said.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Putin, Medvedev Celebrate New Public Holiday Marking the Adoption of Christianity in Russia

From Ministry Values
By Stephen K. Ryan

In a stunning example of the resurgence of Christianity in general and the Russian Orthodox Church in particular, President Medvedev marked the adoption of Christianity in 988 with a new public holiday. This is the latest demonstration of the Kremlin's support for an Orthodox Church that has grown increasingly powerful since the fall of Communism.

Some rights groups have criticized the new holiday, approved by President Dmitry Medvedev, as undermining Russia's secular constitution.

To read "Is Russia more Christian than the United States?" Click here

Marking the anniversary Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, held a liturgy in Kiev, the capital of modern Ukraine and mediaeval Kievan Rus, whose leader Prince Vladimir made Christianity the state religion more than 1,000 years ago.

Reuters reported the Patriarch as saying "Facing aggressive atheism and resurgent paganism we remain firm in our belief in God,"

Since the fall of the Soviet Union almost 20 years ago, the Orthodox Church has undergone a revival as Russia's leaders have endorsed it as the country's main faith.

Vladimir Putin, after lighting a candle in Veliky Novgorod's Saint Sophia Cathedral, said "This was an event of colossal significance ... Russia made a historical choice"

Many believe such an official State recognition of a religious event would be impossible in the United States.

Reuters reported :

"It is really cool that this is finally happening. It's good young people know about our history," said Anton, a 22-year-old artist. Retired engineer Zina looked on. "I regularly go to church and maybe this will encourage others," she told Reuters. The trend toward consolidation of the church as a national force in Russia has worried its 20-million strong Muslim population -- a seventh of Russia's people -- as well as those who believe church and state should be strictly separated.

July 28 was celebrated in Russia en masse twice before -- in 1888 and 1988 -- but significantly Wednesday's holiday was the first time it was marked on a state level.

Its millennium celebration in 1988 under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was widely considered a turning point for the church's revival while Russia still lived under Communism.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Russian Orthodox patriarch praises Pope, Rips Protestant Compromises with Secularism

Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
Kirill waves to Ukrainians in Odesa on July 20.

From Catholic World News

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, praised Pope Benedict and blasted Protestant bodies that have accepted women’s ordination and caved in to the secular culture on homosexuality.

Noting that the Pope is criticized by “liberal theologians and liberal mass media in the West,” Patriarch Kirill said that “on many public and moral issues his approach fully coincides with the approach of the Russian Orthodox Church. This gives us an opportunity to advocate Christian values together with the Catholic Church, in particular at international organizations and on the international arena.”

On the other hand, some Protestant bodies have “let sinful elements of the world enter their internal world and justify these elements, if they are offered by secular society … secular philosophical liberal stock phrases are repeated within Protestant churches and take root in religious thinking.”

For example, “the word of God is distorted to please the secular liberal standard” on homosexuality, the patriarch noted. “It is written in black and white that it is a sin.”

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Russian Patriarch: Protestant Acceptance of Homosexuality Undermines Ecumenism

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, met with the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) on June 28 and said that the acceptance of homosexuality by some Protestant communities undermines ecumenism.

“Kirill expressed a serious concern about some difficulties faced by ecumenical dialogue in view of what he labeled as new positions of some Protestant churches on important moral issues, including the understanding of homosexuality,” a WCC press release noted.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Russian, Constantinople Patriarchs Hail Closer Ties after Visit

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill with Bartholomew, Patriarch of Constantinople.

From RIA Novosti

Joint worship with Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew has strengthened the unity of Orthodox churches worldwide, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill said on Sunday.

The two patriarchs celebrated Divine Liturgy together for the third time on Sunday in St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

The official visit of the leader of the Constantinople Church, who is by tradition first among the 15 primates of the Orthodox churches, began last week, with joint services on May 22 and 24.

"Our celebration today is dedicated to the unity of the universal church," said the Russian patriarch, who is fifth in the Orthodox hierarchy.

"We have known each other a long time, and I am glad that with each meeting we become closer to each other, so that the relations between Orthodox churches grow stronger," Kirill said after the joint liturgy.

Speaking in the main cathedral of St. Petersburg, Kirill noted that Russia's second city has much in common with Constantinople, now known as Istanbul.

"Each of these cities was fated to become the mainstay and focus of a great culture, both cities are capitals of the great Orthodox empire," the Russian patriarch said.

The head of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, in turn, called St. Petersburg "a symbol of heroism, steadfastness and faith in the ideals of freedom."

Addressing thousands of Russian Orthodox worshipers, Patriarch Bartholomew wished for Russians to remain "steadfast in the faith."

In memory of Bartholomew's visit to Russia, the Russian patriarch gave the head of the Church of Constantinople a copy of the Feodorovsky icon of the Mother of God.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Moscow Turns Ownership of Public Monasteries over to Orthodox Church

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered the handover of about 20 Moscow-area monasteries to the Russian Orthodox Church, returning properties seized during the Bolshevik Revolution almost a century ago.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Vatican, Moscow Patriarchate to Co-Sponsor Events on Russian Culture

From Catholic World News

The Pontifical Council for Culture has announced plans for a 2-day festival of Russian culture and spirituality. The initiative is co-sponsored by the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow.

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said that Archbishop Hilarion, the head of the ecumenical-affairs department for the Moscow patriarchate, will lead a Russian delegation in Rome for the events of May 19-20. Before arriving in Rome the Russian delegation will visit Ravenna, Milan, Turin, and Bologna.

The events of May 19 will include a photographic exhibition on the life of the Russian Orthodox Church today, and a symposium on the cooperative efforts of Catholic and Orthodox leaders to preserve Europe's Christian identity.

Archbishop Hilarion will preside at a celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Rome's Orthodox church on May 20. That evening, in the Vatican auditorium, the Russian national orchestra will give a concert to honor Pope Benedict XVI. The concert will be sponsored by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Patriarch: Faithful Should Have More Children to Repopulate Russia

The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has called upon the faithful to have more children in order to repopulate their vast nation.

“What's the good of having economy, if our nation is sick?” said Patriarch Kirill. “How will we reclaim these boundless spaces, vast lands, not only in European part of Russia, but in Siberia as well?”

Heartened by news that Russia’s birthrate has increased, he added, “We hope this tendency will be stable and our people rather than strangers with alien culture and alien faith will inhabit our vast lands inherited from God and our hardworking forefathers and this greatest treasure-- our land-- will be cultivated by descendants of those who merged it to the great Russian state.”

Russia’s population has declined by nearly 7 million since 1991.

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

In Russia, the Path to Unity is Defrosting


Benedict XVI meets Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad in 2007.
Today, Kirill is the Russian Orthodox Patriarch
(Photo: CNS)

From The Catholic Herald (UK)
By Neville Kyrke-Smith

"The Lefebvrists, the Anglicans... will it be the Orthodox next?" asked one slightly bewildered Catholic priest recently. Pope Benedict XVI is turning out to be ecumenically audacious. For this he has faced criticism, misunderstanding and accusations of insensitivity. But Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church seem now to be making progress in preparing the ground to overcome the Great Schism of 1054.

When I was in Russia late last year the Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, commented on the imperative aim of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to build "a dialogue of truth and charity" with the Orthodox. He emphasised how vital this was and thanked Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) for its work in supporting Catholic, Orthodox and ecumenical projects in Russia:

"We have to encourage the Catholic community to show solidarity to the Orthodox. The initiative of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI is so important. Thank you for all that the charity does for the Church and for building relations with the Orthodox, in line with the will of the Holy Father... and Our Lord!"

He continued, reflecting on the great sufferings of all Christians in Soviet times: "We must find courage to turn the pages of history."

But it is not only Catholics who wish to "turn the pages of history" and establish an understanding, with a deeper respect.

Archpriest Fr Igor Vyzhanov, Secretary for inter-Christian Affairs at the Moscow Patriarchate, told me: "We have a common heritage, a common mission and challenges in common - both Catholics and Orthodox. We need your prayers and charity."

Fr Igor accompanied Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev, who is head of the External Affairs Department of the Russian Orthodox Church, to a meeting at Castel Gandolfo with Pope Benedict XVI in late September. When asked about the continuing tense situation between churches in Ukraine - where the faithful of the Eastern Rite (Greek) Catholic Church suffered so much and where there is a raw sensitivity and a politically territorial religious viewpoint on both sides - Archpriest Igor recognised the scale of the challenges: "There is much hurt and there are very painful memories on both sides and the question is how a way forward can be found. But we must foster a solution with the Greek Catholics in Ukraine - and we both call for the need for dialogue."

So what underlies these recent changes in attitude? Where has this new energy come from, pushing towards a mutual recognition and some theological and ecclesial agreement? The difficult meetings of the International Joint Commission for Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue Theological Commission, the publishing of books and articles, as well as cultural and diplomatic exchanges, are definitely leading to a greater openness. Indeed, one sign of this is a forthcoming exhibition with lectures this spring 2010 in Rome entitled Days of Russian Spiritual Culture - and it is thought likely that the Holy Father will make a point of attending. Additionally, the projects supported by Aid to the Church in Need have helped to build bridges of charity - including the publishing of social teaching documents by the Russian Orthodox Church and the sponsoring of a television programme on the Holy Father, with a personal message from Pope Benedict in Russian, broadcast across Russia in 2008. Barriers of mistrust and superstition are coming down - as common social and religious challenges are faced - and some of the wounds of atheism are beginning to heal.

Above all, it is the personalities involved at the top of the ecclesial trees who are encouraging a growing closeness. It is almost as though both Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict, through their theological studies and meetings prior to their elevation to office, were being prepared for a big fraternal gesture between the Orthodox and Catholic communities.

Patriarch Kirill hand-picked Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev as his successor as head of the External Relations Department of the Patriarchate, the post he himself previously held. While the Patriarch is cautious and measured in what he says, it is fascinating to hear what Archbishop Hilarion says. In Rome in September he said: "We support the Pope in his commitment to the defence of Christian values. We also support him when his courageous declarations arouse negative reactions on the part of politicians or public figures or they are criticised and sometimes misrepresented by some in the mass media. We believe that he has the duty to witness to the truth and we are therefore with him even when his word encounters opposition.

"Personally, I hope that sooner or later the meeting that many are awaiting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow will take place. I can say with responsibility that on both sides there is the desire to prepare a meeting with great care."

Pope Benedict's theological grounding, his studies, his lecturing and his time at the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith seem to have prepared him to be a bold pope who wishes to heal theological divides. Time and again he emphasises the common ground. The Holy Father summed up his deep respect for Orthodoxy late last year when he told Archbishop Anastas, head of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania late that we have "a common profession of the Nicene - Constantinopolitan creed; a common baptism for the remission of sins and for incorporation into Christ and the Church; the legacy of the first Ecumenical Councils; the real if imperfect communion which we already share, and the common desire and collaborative efforts to build upon what already exists".

In Russia the Catholic Church is seen in a different light from the Nineties when there was a great deal of suspicion and mistrust. Even in late 2001 Catholics were seen by the Orthodox to be triumphalistic and insensitive in establishing dioceses in Russia, without any consultation, just after the interfaith Assisi gathering with Pope John Paul II. Now Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has opened many doors and helped deepen respect for the Holy Father, Pope Benedict. Additionally, Italian diplomatic skills and ways seem to be to the fore. The Nuncio Archbishop Mennini has built good relationships - which led to the recent proposal from President Medvedev to upgrade the status of the Holy See so that the Vatican has full diplomatic relations with Russia. Archbishop Paolo Pezzi in Moscow and all the Catholic bishops are also working wherever they can to improve understanding and co-operation with the local Orthodox bishops.

Fr Pietro Scalini, the rector of the Catholic seminary in St Petersburg, told me that he has Orthodox lecturers and how there is a growing understanding, even if it is not easy at times.

"As the Pope has called the Church to breathe with both lungs, our presence here enables communication and knowing each other," he said. "I have taught a lot of Orthodox here, who come to learn. Our presence may help unity. It is not our aim to spread the Gospel - it relies on God."

Why does all this matter? So that Christ can be proclaimed with two lungs in today's world - breathed, lived, spoken of and witnessed to with real energy and power. For Catholics and Orthodox need each other. Both Cardinal Kasper and Archbishop Hilarion have spoken about the importance of the social teachings of the Church and the Liturgy. Indeed, Archbishop Hilarion has not held back at times with his comments: "Only united will we be able to propose to the world the spiritual and moral values of the Christian faith; together we will be able to offer our Christian vision of the family, of procreation, of a human love made not only for pleasure; to confirm our concept of social justice, of a more equitable distribution of goods, of a commitment to safeguarding the environment, for the defence of human life and its dignity. Therefore, the time has come to move from a failure to meet and competition, to solidarity, mutual respect and esteem; I would say, without a doubt, that we must move to mutual love. Our Christian preaching can have effect, can be convincing in our contemporary world, if we are able to live this mutual love between us, Christians."

He has also written: "Orthodox divine services are a priceless treasure that we must carefully guard... 'divine wisdom accessible to simple, loving hearts' (St John of Kronstadt)."

He added sadly that "since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, services in some Catholic churches have become little different from Protestant ones".

Looking around Moscow, the visitor will see numerous Orthodox churches. There were just 40 functioning churches in Moscow during Soviet times, but now there are 400 churches for a population of perhaps 10 million. Surveys indicate that over 70 per cent of Russians claim to be Orthodox, even if only perhaps four to seven per cent attend the Liturgy regularly. There is a real feeling of Russian identity associated with the Orthodox Church and the Patriarch is recognised as an important diplomatic figure of influence within Russia. We in the West may worry about a resurgent Russian nationalism - with the Church getting too close to the state - but the Orthodox say that they are just developing a relationship with the Kremlin in order to have influence and to be able to have religion taught in schools.

In pastoral work and mission there are some imaginative initiatives. In St Petersburg Fr Alexander Tkachenko, a young priest, runs a centre providing pastoral care for terminally ill children. His is the only hospice for children in the whole of Russia. About 200 children are cared for per annum and the Centre is now registered. ACN has helped with three vehicles which visit outlying parishes - and vital paediatric palliative care is given, and the Liturgy is also celebrated. This is faith in action - and very similar to the founding work of Fr Werenfreid van Straaten at Aid to the Church in Need for displaced and abandoned German refugee families after the Second World War. For three years Fr Alexander had the only disabled vehicle in St Petersburg. In other developments the programmes of Blagovest Media and the courses of St Andrew's Biblical Theological Institute are real bridges of understanding.

The ecumenical road is not easy - often it is frozen or even non-existent in Russia - but the foundations of respect and understanding are being laid, with the help of Italian diplomatic engineering and a theologian Pope. These foundations are also built upon the joint witness of the Orthodox and Catholic martyrs of the 20th century. Human rights issues, political misunderstandings, Russian historical identity and Ukrainian tensions are all part of the terrible legacy of Soviet suffering. But there is one other legacy in Russia which has been rediscovered: a legacy of Christian faith which somehow survived the Gulag prison camps. Look at the icons of the Mother of God and the Protecting Veil, and perhaps we in the West can be challenged to a deeper understanding and respect.

Neville Kyrke-Smith is National Director of Aid to the Church in Need UK and has travelled extensively for more than 25 years in Russia and Eastern Europe. ACN gives priority to supporting Catholic projects in Russia and also assists with Orthodox and ecumenical projects.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Orthodox Church Elects Modernizer as Patriarch

Reconciliation sought with Roman Catholics

From The Washington Times
By Mansur Mirovalev ASSOCIATED PRESS

The interim leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, seen as a modernizer who could seek a historic reconciliation with the Vatican and more autonomy from the state, was overwhelmingly elected patriarch Tuesday.

Metropolitan Kirill received 508 of the 700 votes cast during an all-day church congress in Moscow's ornate Christ the Savior Cathedral, the head of the commission responsible for the election, Metropolitan Isidor, said hours after the secret ballot was over.

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