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.
AND THEN WE HAVE THIS ABOUT FIRST IN ITS HISTORY PAN ORTHODOX COUNCIL CREATING FEAR AND TREPIDATION AMONG MANY ORTHODOX AND oRTHODOX:
Leading Orthodox theologian: forthcoming council is ‘extraordinary and exceptional event’
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.