RUSSIA: Orthodox and Catholics discuss "pursuing new approaches together"
By Jürgen Liminski
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who said that the Churches must not wait for reunion before taking joint action to help persecuted Christians.
A Senior Russian Orthodox bishop has identified ways that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches can work together to respond to the challenges of materialism and consumerism.
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, made the remarks at a meeting in Moscow with Johannes von Heereman, executive president of the Aid to the Church in Need International on Pentecost Sunday (27 May).
Metropolitan Hilarion said that the Churches must not wait for reunion before they take action as “Eucharistic union will not come about within a few years”.
Both Mr Heereman and the metropolitan agreed that it was necessary to “pursue new approaches and cast off the burdens of the past”.
They spoke about the possibility of taking joint action helping persecuted Christians in Arabic and Islamic countries where “the situation for Christians has deteriorated dramatically”.
They also identified common Christian values regarding the protection of life and respect for marriage and family, which are under attack from increased secularism.
With regards to theological training they spoke about the possibility of student exchanges.
Metropolitan Hilarion said there was continued interest in projects “that bring us closer together”.
He added that the Russian Orthodox Church has been working in conjunction with Aid to the Church in Need for a long time and that members of the Church are grateful for the assistance the charity had given in recent decades.
In view of the challenges facing the churches both Metroplitan Hilarion and Mr Heereman emphasised that it is important “to look into the future together”.