Letter #12, 2017: A Communist Ecumenist?

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March 27, 2017, Monday — A Communist Ecumenist? Zyuganov on the Split between Eastern and Western Christianity I have been trying to drive home one fundamental point for more than 20 years now, both in the pages of Inside the Vatican magazine, and in the work of the Urbi et Orbi Foundation which seeks to […]

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Catholic theologian urges closer ties with Russian Orthodox

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15 Feb 2017 – By Jonathan Luxmoore OXFORD, England (CNS) — A prominent Catholic ecumenist has urged a better understanding of the Russian Orthodox Church. “Those suspicious of the Russian Orthodox stance should go and see what’s happening,” said Barbara Hallensleben, a consultor with the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. “Of course, nationalist […]

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Pope’s Georgia visit can help promote inter-Church relations

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Georgia’s ambassador to the Holy See says she believes the Pope’s recent visit to her country can help promote better relations with other Christian Churches. (Vatican Radio) Tamara Grdzelidze, an Orthodox theologian and former official at the World Council of Churches, told Vatican Radio she was saddened by some of the negative media coverage of the […]

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Georgia’s ambassador on expectations for papal visit

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Pope Francis takes off for the Georgian capital Tbilisi on Friday for a two-day visit to the majority Orthodox republic. As well as meeting with religious and civil authorities in Tbilisi, the Pope will travel to the nearby ancient city of Mtskheta, founded in the 5th century BC and famed as one of UNESCO’s World […]

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Letter #61, 2016: Appeal from Assisi

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September 20, 2016, Tuesday — Appeal for Peace from Assisi “This is the spirit that animates us: to bring about encounters through dialogue, and to oppose every form of violence and abuse of religion which seeks to justify war and terrorism.” —Declaration of Assisi, released today in Assisi, Italy, as a common call from representatives […]

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Letter #60, 2016: Meeting By The Sea

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September 19, 2016, Monday — Meeting by the Sea “Today, with the blessing and on the invitation of His Eminence Archbishop Bruno Forte, the local archpastor of the local Roman Catholic diocese, we, the Orthodox members of the Joint International Commission of Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, have the great […]

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Letter #59, 2016: The Face of Christ and Unity

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September 18, 2016, Sunday — The Face of Christ and Unity “Seeking the Face of Jesus must be the longing of all of us Christians… If we persevere in our quest for the Face of the Lord, at the end of our earthly pilgrimage, he, Jesus, will be our eternal joy, our reward and glory […]

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Letter #53, 2016: Rome to Russia

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August 29, 2016, Monday — Rome-Moscow Exchange Intensifies “May the Holy Mother of God, our common heavenly Mother, keep all of us and cover us from all evil.’” —Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, head of the Department of External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, speaking to a dozen visitors from Rome, his guests for […]

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News From The East

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Russian Orthodox Patriarch Declares Worldwide “Holy War” on Terrorism The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has called the fight against terrorism a “holy war” and urged international unity and an abandoning of double standards to defeat this global evil. “Today, when our warriors take part in combat operations in the Middle East, we know […]

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Urbi et Orbi: Spirituality, The Orthodox Saints Speak

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We are made up of a soul and body, and both soul and body consist of many members. For the soul too has members after a fashion: those parts of it concerned with growth, desiring, anger and reason. Therefore, true fasting must extend to every part, cleansing and healing them all. Fasting, brethren, gently and […]

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Urbi et Orbi Section: News from the East

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Endangered Jesus Tomb Unites Rival Catholic, Orthodox Churches in $3.4 Million Restoration Project Three Christian traditions recently put aside their long-standing theological differences and agreed to partner to save the endangered holy place where Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected in Jerusalem. Members of the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and the Armenian Orthodox Churches have […]

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Urbi et Orbi Section: The Liturgical Year

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Why is the Great Pascha on a Different Date than Easter? This year the Orthodox Church celebrated the Great Pascha, their Easter, on May 1, several weeks after the rest of the Christian world celebrated Easter. This feast is preceded by a Holy Week similar to the Catholic one, and has the same meaning and […]

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Letter #39, 2016: Orthodox Good Friday

April 29, 2016, Friday — Toward the Orthodox Easter In the Orthodox Church, Today Is Good Friday, and Sunday Will Be Easter Sunday In the West, we sometimes forget that the Orthodox world still celebrates Holy Week according to the old calendar. And, according to the old calendar, today is Good Friday, and Easter will […]

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News from the East

Roma 14 Marzo 2013 - Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore Papa Francesco cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in preghiera nella Cappella Paolina all' altare della Madonna Salus Populi Romani il giorno dopo la sua elezione

Moving Toward Unity The Catholic and Orthodox Churches may be entering a new era of reconciliation. Three prominent Catholic figures with years of experience working with the Eastern Churches comment on recent developments and the progress toward unity they may augur Pope Francis, “Bishop of Rome”: Creating New Space for Dialog By Fr. James McCann […]

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Spirituality: The Orthodox Saints Speak

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The Desert Fathers Speak on Joy, Love and the Mercy of God If we keep remembering the wrongs which men have done us, we destroy the power of the remembrance of God… —Abba Macarius the Great On Joy Abba Syncletica said, “In the beginning there are a great many battles and a good deal of […]

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The Problem, and the Opportunity, of the Stepinac Case

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Croatia’s new prime minister, Tihomir Oreskovic, came to Rome on April 7 to meet with Pope Francis. On the meeting’s agenda, a canonization cause which has led Rome to take an unprecedented step… Tihomir Oreskovic, Croatia’s new prime minister, came to Rome on April 7 to meet with Pope Francis. The subjects of his talks […]

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Pope Francis and the Orthodox

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople embrace during a prayer service in the patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul Nov. 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-ISTANBUL Nov. 29, 2014.

This humble Bishop of Rome, who says we can learn “the meaning of episcopal collegiality” from the Orthodox, has been “the right Pope at the right time” Since the Second Vatican Council, there has been slow but steady progress in the efforts of various Popes to reach out to the Orthodox Church. These efforts have […]

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Letter #12: The Common Declaration

February 12, 2016, Friday — Today’s Common Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Cuba The Middle East — “We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East.”—Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Common statement, issued today in Cuba, just a few […]

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Letter #10, 2016: The Passion that Looms Over the Pope-Kirill Meeting

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February 6, 2016, Saturday — The Passion that Looms Over the Pope Francis-Patriarch Kirill Meeting in Cuba The “Diplomacy of Music” I just received an email bringing my attention to an article by Dr. Terry Mattingly, an Orthodox scholar and writer who edits the popular GetReligion.org website. Here is the link. The Mattingly article quotes […]

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Letter #9: More on the Pope Francis-Patriarch Kirill Meeting in Cuba

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February 5, 2016, Friday — More on the Pope Francis-Patriarch Kirill Meeting in Havana, Cuba, on February 12 “Thus, in full awareness and at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome that Peter bathed with his blood, the current successor assumes as his primary commitment that of working tirelessly towards the reconstruction […]

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