Russia: Orthodox leader dismisses any “compromise” on the papacy

Source: FSSPX News


In this interview, the leader of Moscow’s patriarchate with European organizations affirmed: “the primacy of the bishop of Rome in the Christian Church is, according to us, a primacy of honor and not of competence. This means that the pope’s competence has never applied to all the Churches.”

The question of the pope’s primacy must be at the center of the discussion during the meeting of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and the Orthodox Church which will take place in Ravenna next October.

The Commission, created in 1979, knew difficult times in the 90’s because of the religious tensions troubling post-Communist Eastern Europe. The negotiations were interrupted in 2000 on account of the issue of “Uniatism”, namely the Greek-Catholic Churches faithful to Rome but observing the Eastern rites.

The relative détente between Catholics and Orthodox, which began with the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI, enabled discussions to be resumed in Belgrade in 2006. However, the meeting highlighted the division of Orthodoxy. In fact, Moscow and Constantinople are waging a war of influence over the Orthodox world. The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople is considered by many faithful as a primus inter pares (first among his peers) in the Orthodox Church’s hierarchy, but the patriarchate of Moscow extends its authority over the largest Orthodox population in the world. Hence, in Belgrade, the representatives of the Russian Church opposed a declaration which, in their eyes, put Constantinople on a par with Rome.

Orthodoxy, declared bishop Hilarion does not have a hierarch or a religious leader similar to the pope. “We should not create the illusion that such a hierarch exists,” he insisted.