Russia: The patriarchate of Moscow does not share Cardinal Kasper’s "excessive optimism"

Source: FSSPX News


According to, the Russian Orthodox Church has reservations in its reaction to Cardinal Walter Kasper’s remarks concerning the progress in relations between Orthodox and Catholics, and a forthcoming visit of the pope to Russia. (See DICI n° 132).

"The position of our Church remains unchanged. A meeting between the representatives of the two Churches will be meaningful if it enables them to reach a real solution to the problems separating us: on the one hand the issue of proselytism, and on the other hand the problem of the expansionist attempts of the Greek Catholics against the Orthodox in the Ukraine", the vice-president of the department of foreign relations for the Patriarchate of Moscow, the archpriest Vsevolod Tchaplin, told Interfax on March 28. The question of the pope’s visit to Russia, he said, was not even raised during the last contacts between the Churches.

This was his reaction to the announcement made the previous day by the representative for the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians, Cardinal Walter Kasper, who had stated that relations between the Orthodox Church and the Vatican were rapidly being smoothed out and “would presage a possible visit by the pope to Russia in the near future". "We would like to believe that sooner or later, we would reach a consensus on these questions, but in my opinion it is still too early to show boundless optimism", said the representative of the Russian Church.

In his turn, Andrew Kouraëv, professor at the Theological Academy of Moscow, also voiced his disagreement with the announcement by Cardinal Kasper that the relations between the Russian Church and the Vatican had taken on a "new spirit". "My sense of smell is not acute enough to detect this new spirit. As an average clergyman, I have not perceived any improvement at all, in the relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican", Fr. Andrew told Interfax on March 28.

Likewise, he felt that Cardinal Kasper’s statement that the proselytism by the Catholic Church (conversion of believers) was "easy to solve", was without basis. "In this regard, the recent approval by the Vatican of the transfer of the Uniates’ see from Lvov to Kiev in the Ukraine can in no way, be interpreted as a friendly gesture", observed Fr. Andrew. – An ecumenical dialogue so clearly unilateral is rather a monologue-  or a dialogue for the deaf.