Russian Church stresses its differences with western protestants


RIA Novosti, 3 November 2016


If other Christian denominations depart from traditional morality based on Christian teaching, then the Russian Orthodox Church (RPTs) will cease dialogue with them, the head of the Department for External Church Relations (OVTsS) of the Moscow patriarchate, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion, declared in an interview with RIA Novosti.


"In such circumstances, we cease it (dialogue—ed.), for example, in the case of the Church of Sweden. Just now Pope Francis flew to Sweden (from 31 October to 1 November—ed.) and met there with a female archbishop. But after a whole series of events occurred in the Church of Sweden, with which we categorically cannot agree and which we consider to be a departure from traditional Christian ecclesiology, that is, teaching about the church, and especially because of events that we consider to be a revision of moral doctrine, we have simply ceased dialogue," the metropolitan said.


He noted that during fellowship with contemporary western liberal Protestantism, the RPTs often is faced with such problems "that sometimes make that dialogue not simply problematic but even impossible." The head of the OVTsS thinks that Pope Francis' visit to Sweden will not affect relations of Orthodox with Catholics, since the Catholic Church itself chooses "with whom to fellowship and with whom not to fellowship," and that is its "internal affair."


Earlier Patriarch Kirill declared that he continues to conduct dialogue with the Catholic Church, but he has practically abandoned conversations with western protestant churches because of their renunciation of evangelical moral values. In October he made a pastoral visit to Britain for the first time as the first hierarch of the RPTs. The trip was timed to coincide with the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the presence of the Russian Church on the British Isles. On the last day of his visit, the patriarch met with Queen Elizabeth II and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the leader of adherents of Anglicanism, one of the major branches of protestantism. (tr. by PDS, posted 4 November 2016)

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