Meeting of Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis can hardly be compared with any other negotiation in the history, because the symbolic value of the fact of conversation of the primates of the Orthodox and Catholic churches is in itself more important than its content. The conversation ended with the signing of the Declaration and exchange of gifts, as well as a hint of what is possible and a new meeting. In the political sense, the event, of course, plus Russia.
The Pope and the Patriarch met in the Havana airport for two hours. Open for the press was only the first few minutes and the signing ceremony of the Declaration following the meeting at which it was made and a brief statement.
“We are not rivals, but brothers: from this understanding we must proceed in all our actions in relation to each other and to the outside world”
Started talking with three hristosovanie – the Pope welcomed the Patriarch with the words “Finally!” and repeatedly called him a brother. Patriarch Kirill said in response: “We were at the right time in the right place,” adding that “now many things will become easier.” After the Pope’s words that “certainly this meeting is the will of God”, the Patriarch said he “sees no obstacles to the organization of other meetings” with the Pontiff.
At the conclusion of a two-hour conversation, they exchanged gifts – the Patriarch received the relics of its patron Saint, Saint Cyril and the Pope – the list of the Kazan icon of the mother of God and the signing of the Declaration. The Patriarch and the Pope made a brief statement.
“We spent two hours in open debate, with full understanding of the responsibility of the Church for your faithful, for the future of Christianity and human civilization, said Patriarch Kirill. – Had a very informative conversation. We were able to understand and feel of each other’s positions. The results allow us to say that the two Churches can work together to protect Christians worldwide. And with full responsibility to work. To avoid war, to everywhere respected human life, had strengthened the foundations of family and personal morality, and through the participation of the Church, and using secular society glorified the name of the Holy.”
The Pope thanked the Patriarch for his effort and humility that he showed, “so we looked for a way out”. “We, the bishops, have the same faith and sought the same path. We spoke very frankly. I will admit that the atmosphere of this dialogue has brought me comfort” (Vatican translator-Lithuanian translated these words as “I felt the presence of the Holy spirit”).
The joint Declaration consists of 30 items and begins with thanking God for the fact of the meeting:
“Happily we met as brothers in the Christian faith, obidevshiysya to “speak face to face” (2 Jn. 12), from heart to heart and discuss the relationship between the churches, the pressing problems of our congregation and prospects of development of human civilization.”
Three main topics for discussion, stated in the Declaration – the relationship between the Churches, the problems of Christians in the world and the future of humanity – how extensive, is just as natural to talk of the primates of the two Churches. A discussion of the relationship of the two Churches, divided millennia ago, does not mean the beginning of their reunion – canonical and dogmatic differences is too strong. This, of course, the Declaration expresses regret about the fact of the split and says and about what unites and what divides us:
“We share a common spiritual Tradition of the first Millennium of Christianity… Despite the common Tradition of the first ten centuries, Catholics and Orthodox Christians for almost a thousand years deprived of the Eucharist. We divided wounds in the conflicts of the distant and recent past, divided and inherited from our predecessors by differences in the understanding and explanation of our faith in God, one in Three Persons – the father, the Son and the Holy spirit. We mourn the loss of unity caused by human weakness and sinfulness, which occurred in spite of the high-priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “that they all may be one, as Thou, father, in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us” (Jn. 17, 21).
Being aware of the many obstacles to be overcome, we hope that our meeting will contribute to the achievement of that God-commanded unity for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians around the world with a new zeal call upon the Lord, praying for full unity of all His disciples. Let it – in a world that expects us not only of words but of deeds – will become a sign of hope for all people of good will.”
Whether this appeal is Ecumenical, as feared by many in our Church? No, there is regret about separation and hope for reunification – but any Christian, of course, deplores the separation of Church, as if he neither belonged to his reasons and no matter how misguided or heretics nor believed a breakaway congregation.
So when the Declaration States that “in the determination to make all necessary in order to overcome the historically inherited differences, we want to unite our efforts for a testimony of the gospel of Christ and the common heritage of the Church of the first Millennium, jointly responding to the challenges of the modern world” the most important thing here is the indication of the challenges of our day, equally threatening to all Christians. No erosion of the foundations of Orthodoxy, ecumenism filecatalyst or of such appeals does not arise. In addition, the Declaration of the Vatican went on the actual condemnation of the practice of “Uniatism,” i.e. translation of the Orthodox under the authority of the Roman Pontiff:
“Today it is obvious that the method “Uniatism” of previous centuries, suggesting the bringing of one community in unity with the other by means of separation from his Church, is not the way to restore unity”.
Similarly condemned and proselytism:
“Orthodox and Catholics are United not only the common Tradition of the Church of the first Millennium, but also the mission of preaching the gospel of Christ in the modern world. This mission implies a mutual respect of the members of the Christian communities, excludes any form of proselytism.
We are not rivals, but brothers: from this understanding we must proceed in all our actions in relation to each other and to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace, love and Concord among themselves (ROM. 15, 5). It is unacceptable to use inappropriate means to coerce believers to move from one Church to another, neglecting their religious freedom and their own traditions.”
It turns out that the millennial politics of the Catholic Church towards the Orthodox – including Uniatism, proselytism is recognized at the level of the Pope wrong. Yes, the Vatican in the past decade and said about the unacceptability of proselytism, but now it is fixed in the joint Declaration and the condemnation of the practice of Uniatism at all unprecedented.
But the Declaration itself should not be regarded as a list of concessions, compromises or gotchas – still primarily is a political document that “Orthodox and Catholics should learn to agree to bear testimony to the truth in those areas in which it is possible and necessary,” because “human civilization has entered a period of epochal change.”
These changes are not directly referred to in the Declaration is anti-Christian, but everyone understands that this is what was going on. In particular, most of Europe has entered a period of apostasy – the falling away from the faith. Close to the Church, fewer and fewer Christians – it’s not just, but including as a result of the plantations and the coming of militant multiculturalism.
In the Declaration it is stated quite gently – it is clear that the ROC would be tougher, but the Vatican in the West and so has been under constant attack for its conservatism – how about the fact that “the transformation of some countries in the secularized society, devoid of all memory of God and His righteousness, entails a serious danger to religious freedom.” Direct hint that this refers to the West, contained in the words about European integration, which “was perceived by many with hope” “at the same time, we caution against such integration, which respects the religious identity.”
Several points of the Declaration on the protection of family values (including understanding the family as a Union between men and women – Catholics keep defenses from modern Western civilization), condemned euthanasia and abortion.
As for the actual main theme of the meeting was the war and the persecution of Christians in the middle East – it is paid to the four points of the Declaration. “We urge the international community to unite to end the violence and terrorism” – these words completely resonate with Moscow’s appeals to the West to work together to calm the burning region.
The Pope and the Patriarch called for peace in Ukraine, turning to his flock with an appeal “work for the achievement of public consent, to refrain from participating in the conflict and not support further development of the conflict”.
Apparently, the meeting in Havana can be continued – at least, the words of Patriarch Kirill at the beginning of the conversation with the Pope give such grounds. Now, of course, too early to talk about when and whether at all in the next few years meeting new people, but obviously not in the format of the visits of the Patriarch to the Vatican or the Pope to Russia (although the Vatican on the eve of the meeting in Havana began to talk about the desirability of such a visit – cardinal Walter Kasper has called the Pope’s visit to Russia “an important step”, specifies that while “it is premature to talk about a possible trip”).
If we talk about the political importance of the Havana meeting and Declaration, it is now working in Russia – head of the Catholic Church, the most authoritative for a billion Catholics figure, meets with Russian Patriarch in a situation when the Anglo-Saxon elite continue, albeit in a milder form, the policy of containment of Russia, are doing everything to ensure that European countries maintained sanctions against our country.
Catholics in Europe – in France and Italy, Germany and Spain – although they are in General in the defending position, but represent an important political force. Which is due to a number of reasons – from economic and moral ending, and so sees Russia as its objective partner and ally. Brings Russia and old Europe, like the Catholics with the Orthodox, not the desire to erase the differences and to give up their essence, but rather the desire to preserve their traditions in the face of a common enemy.