Friday, February 5, 2016


(Vatican Radio) It was announced on Friday that Pope Francis will hold a meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in Cuba on February 12th. It marks the first ever such meeting between a Roman Pontiff and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Please find below the Joint Press Release of the Holy See and of the Patriarchate of Moscow:

The Holy See and the patriarchate of Moscow are pleased to announce that, by the grace of God, His Holiness Pope Francis and His Holiness Patriarch Kirilll of Moscow and All Russia will meet on February 12th next. Their meeting will take place in Cuba, where the Pope will make a stop on his way to Mexico, and where the Patriarch will be on an official visit. It will include a personal conversation at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, and will conclude with the signing of a joint declaration.

This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches. The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that it will also be a sign of hope for all people of good will. They invite all Christians to pray fervently for God to bless this meeting, that it may bear good fruits.


Leading Orthodox theologian: forthcoming council is ‘extraordinary and exceptional event’

February 04, 2016

A leading Eastern Orthodox theologian has offered an overview of the upcoming Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church.

Writing in First Things (READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE THERE BY PRESSING HERE) Archdeacon John Chryssavgis said that the council, from the Orthodox point of view, is not properly described as an ecumenical council because “whole church that must convene—East and West—in order for a council to be considered ecumenical.”

At the same time, this “extraordinary and exceptional event” is “entirely without precedent in the history of Christianity,” wrote Chryssavgis, who serves as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s theological advisor for environmental issues and was cited by Pope Francis in his ecological encyclical Laudato Si’.

“Some are afraid of [the council’s] consequences for the purity of Orthodox doctrine; it may shed light on practices in isolated communities, which have long resisted and reacted against the modern ways of the West,” Chryssavgis continued. “But others see this as a unique moment in the life and witness of an ancient church; it is an opportunity for Orthodox theology to speak a prophetic voice of hope and light in a time of anxiety and uncertainty.”

As Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew reminded the Orthodox primates gathered in Geneva last week, “this is the moment of Orthodoxy.” In the words of Archbishop Anastasios of Albania: “The great council is not a facsimile of an ecumenical council.” Whether described as an ecumenical council, or more aptly labeled a great council, the occasion in Crete next June is not just a new or another council; it is an extraordinary and exceptional event. It is meant to happen. The Spirit is moving. The world is waiting. Let’s see what transpires among the attending bishops.
John Chryssavgis is Archdeacon and theological advisor to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.


Ana Milan said...

This is very good news indeed. Pray an extra rosary for its success. It could lead to the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at long last.

Anonymous said...

What are they expected to take up at the Crete Council?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I think fasting is on the agenda but I suspect too how the Orthodox Churches relate to the rest of Christianity in the West and that together we have to do spiritual warfare against atheistic secularism.

I suspect too there might be a push for some kind of liturgical reform and I think that movement in some places is already happening on a grassroots level from bottom up, so to speak.

I am no expert on the internal controversies of Orthodoxy, others better in the know should comment.

I hope the Pope does consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart it can only help.

Anonymous said...

What does it mean to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It is what our Lady asked for at the Fatima apparitions. There is dispute that this was ever done properly. Pope Francis consecrated the world to Fatima at a Mass in Saint Peter's Square in which I was present and distributed Holy Communion and the Statue of Fatima was present, carried in procession! Stunningly beautiful and moving for me. But many are not satisfied with this and think it hasn't been done properly by any pope since the 1917 apparitions.

Anonymous said...

What will it take for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope to satisfy the request of our Blessed Mother? What are the conditions and what will it take for the Holy Father to follow through with the consecration of Russia?

Anonymous said...

Obviously it has not been done correctly, Father! Look at the state of our world today. Abortion, homosexual acts, murder, rape, war all over the place. Our Blessed Mother made a simple request and because it has not been fulfilled, the period of peace she promised is nowhere around.

Marc said...

The Orthodox will not take up the issue of "liturgical reform" at this council. Councils do not decide things like that in the Orthodox Church -- the bishop does.

I have noticed no push for liturgical reform in the Orthodox Church. There are always priests who do strange things and experiment, but they are few and far between in the Orthodox world. People are rather attached to the liturgy, so there is no movement to change it.

It is interesting that +Kiril will meet with the pope. From the Orthodox perspective, this is like the meetings between the pope and an Anglican "bishop." According to the Orthodox, the pope is nothing more than a man wearing a costume. The Russians probably wouldn't even consider the pope to be baptized, much less a priest, bishop, or patriarch!

TJM said...

Hey, if the Orthodox want to wreck their Church we can get them some help from our "progressives."

Anonymous said...

"The consecration took place on March 25, 1984 when Pope John Paul II, in union with the bishops of the world, consecrated the world and "in a special way . . . those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated" to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Russia was named indirectly, probably for political and ecumenical reasons, but Sr. Lucia dos Santos, the last surviving Fatima seer, assured the papal nuncio to Portugal that our Lady’s request for the consecration had been fulfilled."

Marc said...

I noticed another interesting point in this article. The archdeacon suggests that this council cannot be ecumenical because the entire Church, east and west, must participate in order for that to happen.

The archdeacon is in a very small minority of Orthodox in that assessment. While this council will probably not be considered ecumenical for other reasons, it is not a mainstream opinion that the entire Church will not be present at this council, considering that this deacon is intimating that Rome would need to be present in order for the council to be ecumenical. That is not the general consensus. Moreover, history attests that there have been ecumenical councils (as reckoned by the Orthodox) since the departure of Rome from the communion of the Orthodox church.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I find it fascinating that anyone would say the the Rome left the Orthodox. I would agree that Rome was at fault in some things that led to the Orthodox going into schism, which is breaking with the See of Peter. That is what schism means. Heterodoxy is another issue altogether.

But what no one has pointed out, a certainly Marc hasn't, is that not all the East join schismatic bishop in rebelling against St. Peter, justified as they thought they were. Many remained in full communion with the Church of both the East and the West and others returned to this full communion sometimes centuries later.

But if Marc is correct that Rome left the full communion of the Church, why in the name of God and all that is holy do not the Orthodox have a similar "western" uniate Church which respects the liturgical and spiritual patrimony of the West prior to the Great Schism of the Orthodox.

The full communion of the Catholic Church continues to exist in full communion not only in the West but the East and the East has its own liturgical and spiritual patrimony almost identical to the schismatic Orthodox national Churches.

There is no equivalent though in the Orthodox Churches with the Latin Rite, meaning that the so-called Latin Rites that supposedly went into schism were rejoined to the Orthodox Church in a way that the "Uniates" are.

Marc said...

Father, there are western rite Orthodox parishes.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Nice try! Are there Latin Rite parishes in full communion with Orthodoxy as the Latin Rite Mass was celebrated in 1054 along with Latin Rite spirituality and liturgical patrimony? In other word did any Latin Rite Churches with their bishop's remain in union with the Orthodox Bishop's and did any that "broke" away return to the so called full communion with Othodoxy.

Mark Thomas said...

Deo gratias, God has used His Holiness Pope Francis as a humble and holy human instrument through which peace and hope flow from Heaven to earth. There isn't any question that the meeting in question is historic. But in particular, the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill promises to bring hope and relief to Christians who face genocide. That applies in in great extent to many Christians who live in the Middle East and Africa.

The announcement meeting has also discredited (for about the millionth time) the preposterous narrative, in this case, advance by many Traditionalists, that Pope Francis is a bumbling, failed Pontiff, who has all but fallen off the Faithful's (and world's) radar screen. Certain Traditionalists would have us believe that within and without the Church, a great many people have lost interest in Pope Francis.

For example, about three months ago, Rorate Caeli, "the most-read international traditional Catholic blog", dismissed Pope Francis' Pontificate as a flop.

"The Failed Francis Pontificate.."

Then, just eight days ago, Rorate Caeli, which has a history of having issued "expert" analyses that have flopped, declared the following: "As for the rumored meeting in February between the Pope and the Russian Patriarch -- rumors about such a meeting flare up at least once a year, and get slapped down with the same regularity. The only reason it keeps getting discussed is the Roman ecumenical establishment's obsession with this photo-op. (The Russians' lack of enthusiasm is just as evident.)" Uh-huh. Good job, Rorate Caeli.

Today, in an attempt to save face, Rorate Caeli declared that they are "happy to be proven wrong with regards to our skepticism about the possibility of this meeting (between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill). Uh-huh.

I realize that they won't, but after having been discredited for the umpteenth time, it would be nice if certain leading Traditionalist blogs would end their collective campaign to attempt at every turn to attack and discredit Pope Francis.

For the remainder of the Traditional Catholic Movement and, of course, the Faithful everywhere, we need to pray for the holy success of the upcoming meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill. The meeting in question is important to Christians everywhere as we must unite against the Culture of Death that threatens us in countless ways.

Pope Francis has once again confounded his critics who have worked overtime to present him as a "failed" Pope who Pontificate has run out of steam. The announcement today of the meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch is indeed a bombshell. I hope that the many fierce critics of Pope Francis will spend less time bashing His Holiness and more time praying for his success as a holy peacemaker.


Mark Thomas

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

And Marc, along with you I would be fascinated to see the Latin Rite Liturgy (before Trent codified it in 1570) celebrated today although that Latin Rite parish and liturgy are in full communion with Eastern Orthodoxy. If there was such a parish either in the East as in the West but full Orthodox, I'd love to know where and I'd love to participate in that 1054 way of celebrating the Latin Rite Mass.

Anonymous said...

"If there was such a parish either in the East as in the West but full Orthodox, I'd love to know where and I'd love to participate in that 1054 way of celebrating the Latin Rite Mass."

What gobbledygook! No wonder you are so enthralled with the "glorious" missal translation and so smitten with "pseudo-Latin."

Unknown said...

There's some confusion here: the Mass of 1570 was not too far removed from the Mass of, say, 1000. By then, the liturgy of the Roman Rite had been essentially 'frozen'. Rome has always been more conservative than others parts of the Latin Church. It makes little sense to speak of 'the Mass as said in 1054' when the Mass as said in 1570 was not too different.

It's equally silly to ask if any Latin Churches remained in communion with the other Churches, since, historically and currently, there has ever been one Latin Church--the Church of Rome.

The Catholic claim that some Eastern Churches remained in Communion is a myth (or lie).

Unknown said...


There were Benedictines on Mt. Athos long after the Schism.

I don't know why you seem to think the Western Rite Orthodox are somehow less Orthodox than their Byzantine brethren.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Flav, you've drunk the Koolaide and thus not in your right mind you've dismissed historical facts which an atheist could point out to you in an unbiased way.

And of course the Mass of 1570 is like the Mass in the Latin Rite of 1054 but there was more diversity in style of celebrating as there are several Rites in the Latin Rite.

But the point I am making is that unlike the East which had some Churches which never went into schism and other to returned to full Communion with Peter and thus no longer schismatic, the Orthodox East can't say the same for the Western Rite at all, can they! There are no Masses celebrated in any way according to the 1570 Missal which say they are in full communion with Eastern Orthodoxy as Eastern Orthodoxy understands this term.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What Liturgy did the western rite Orthodox use? That is the question. I suspect the Orthodox Easternized these Latin Rite schismatics.

Anonymous said...

Does consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart have something to do with the Russian Revolution of 1917?

Marc said...

The western rites use various liturgies. They're in the vernacular and add an epiklesis so they have "orthodox"-ized in those ways.

George said...

Both Protestants and the Orthodox reject the primacy and authority of the Pope and this attitude toward the papacy was what led in large part to their separation from the Catholic Church. The events which led up to 1054 and subsequent to that were not handled well by either side. of course, despite the common elements between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, a divergence, an ever widening gap developed over differences in theology and doctrine and this was complicated by the rise of Islam in the East. While what Luther brought about was more like a divorce, the East-West rupture was more like a separation.Those Christians outside the Church reject the Pope's episcopal jurisdiction (even those who at least recognize him either as a bishop or at least the leader of a Christian denomination ) and they deny his authority to proclaim doctrine and dogma applicable to the Church universal and which is binding on all faithful believers. For Catholics of faith, the papacy is foundational. "Where Peter is, there is the Church”, as St Ambrose of Milan put it.. And so it shall always be, whatever heresies and schisms may come.
I do see the upcoming meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill as a good thing. Hopefully something good will come out of it.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"But the point I am making is that unlike the East which had some Churches which never went into schism and other to returned to full Communion with Peter and thus no longer schismatic, the Orthodox East can't say the same for the Western Rite at all, can they!" (sic)

That there were/are no "Latin Rite" sects that are part of the Orthodox Church really doesn't matter. It doesn't "prove" anything...

If an Eastern Church never went into schism and, subsequently, returned to full communion, so what?

Unknown said...

Hmmm... my response is not here. I wonder why.

Unknown said...

Flav, you've drunk the Koolaide and thus not in your right mind you've dismissed historical facts which an atheist could point out to you in an unbiased way.

THAT'S THE PROBLEM. Atheists don't agree that the Papacy has historical precedence within ancient Christianity. History books written within the past 20 years don't support or oppose the Papacy, because it doesn't matter. They claim the evidence is inconclusive either way. Older books certainly have view points, but these books were written by Protestants or Catholics, both of whom would, quite naturally, have a vested interest in the Papacy.

I don't think you know a damn thing about what atheists 'could point out', since you've never been one. You've never travelled in their circles, and you've likely never had sustained conversations with them. Indeed, as a former atheist, I don't think you have any understanding about how fallacious it is to appeal to atheism. Atheists also deny the Virgin Birth, the Reality of the Eucharist, and the existence of both God and Christ. Are you also going to side with them then?

If you say they're wrong about those things, why would I have any reason to believe they're right about the papacy?

John Nolan said...

It was Patriarch Bartholomew who welcomed Summorum Pontificum as an important step in advancing ecumenical relations. The Orthodox have serious misgivings about modern Catholic liturgical practice - the fact that the Novus Ordo is (usually) in the vernacular is beside the point.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I agree John that the EF celebrated in its Solemn Form is more closely aligned historically and culturally to the Eastern Church's ethos although certainly a different spirituality exists as well as style of chant. Language is a separate issue.
I have yet to find the Ordinariate's Ordination Mass from Houston on line. But the official Introit for the Mass was chanted in English, with the Glory be, and while it may have been Anglican Chant it certainly sounded Gregorian to me and worked extremely well in English. I can remember in the seminary in the 70's that attempts to set the Latin Gregorian Chants to English were ridiculed as those who didn't want Gregorian Chant in the revised Mass didn't like chants for the propers because they wanted the Mass more ecumenical and using Protestant hymns and new ungodly concoctions based upon modern tunes, broadway musicals and bar room piano sounds.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Silly Flav, I'm 62 years old and worked in a secular environment from the time I was 14 until I went into the seminary at 22 and I read. How old are you? Tell me about your experiences.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I also graduated from a secular college in the early 1970's. I had many atheist professors and radicals too that wanted to overthrow the USA and the Catholic Church.

Gene said...

Are we actually to the point of referencing atheists in discussions of the Faith and worship? Desperation? Confusion? What...

Unknown said...

If I give you my age, you'll just respond that my age makes anything I say irrelevant. It is not pertinent to the conversation at hand.

I was once heavily involved in the 'New Atheism' movement. I've met Dawkins, Harris, and PZ Meyers. I've had long conversations with all three of them. Unfortunately, that movement lacks one thing: most of the people in it have no idea about any of the religions they criticise.

I, on the other hand, have dedicated years to studying religions and their histories. On another comment thread, you reduced this to an ad hominem about a buffet.

I was also a historian, with my specialisation being Christianity in the Early Medieval Roman Empire (from 400-650 AD ish). Patristics form a large part of primary sources for this era, and this era necessitates a large knowledge of Roman History and Christian history prior to 400 AD.

So, when you say I've 'drunk the Kool-Ade' and 'aren't in my right mind', you're insulting me as a professional. I'd be more concerned with it, but I've long left academia for more active pastures. Indeed, if everything goes as I've planned, in ten years I'll be living on Mt. Athos, and conversations like this one will be long forgotten.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A historian who is an atheist is usually very honest about religious historic facts. Since he has no religious affiliation he can be unbiased in presenting actual historical facts.

This is true too of the events that led to Jesus' crucifixion. It is true too when they tell us what the early Church believed about His Real presence in the Spirit or in the Sacraments, especially the Most Holy Eucharist. Telling the historical truth doesn't mean though that the historian believes what religious people actually believed except when the facts about the passion, death and resurrection are provable.

Unknown said...

It's obvious you didn't read what I wrote earlier about what those 'atheist historians' have written.

So, this conversation is over. I'm not interested in going in circles.

DJR said...

I don't understand why this is a bombshell. It may be historic, but all they're going to do is sign a piece of paper dealing with the persecution of Catholics and Orthodox in the Middle East.

Is there something else going on?