Religion & Liberty Online

Catholics and Orthodox together?

Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, who is head of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions, has offered some very encouraging words on the prospect for improving relations between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches — a relationship that must be revisited with a sense of urgency. In a commentary titled Habemus Papam!, Hilarion looked forward to a “breakthrough” in relations between Rome and Moscow, and called for a meeting between Benedict XVI and Alexy II, patriarch of the Russian Church. Noting the considerable issues that divide the churches, Hilarion described these as far less important than a combined witness to a rapidly secularizing Europe. “I strongly believe that the time has come for Catholics and Orthodox to unite their efforts and to defend traditional Christianity, which is being attacked from all sides,” he said. “In twenty, thirty or forty years it may simply be too late.”

John Couretas

is a writer and editor based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.