Thursday, September 28, 2006

In Possible Prelude To Christian/Jewish And Muslim Reconciliation, Catholic Christians Resume Dialogue With Orthodox Christians

"Roman Catholic and Christian Orthodox leaders meeting [in Belgrade, Serbia] for the first time in six years said they will continue their efforts to bridge the divide between their ancient branches of Christianity.

About 60 bishops, cardinals and metropolitans convened privately in the Serbian capital from September 18 through Monday to restart the dialogue that broke off in 2000.

The previous talks ruptured over issues including papal authority and Orthodox complaints that Catholics were trying to poach followers in historically Orthodox territory, notably eastern Europe.

The latest meeting focused on writing a text that would serve as a basis to "seek the restoration of full communion" and close the nearly 1,000-year-old rift between the Catholic and the Orthodox, the leaders said in a statement.

"After many observations and comments made during the discussion on the text, a revised text will be discussed at the next meeting of the Joint Commission," expected next year, they said.

Representing the world's 1.1 billion Catholics and more than 250 million Orthodox Christians, the dignitaries began their latest gathering with high hopes of bringing East and West closer together. It was also a fresh start under Pope Benedict XVI, who last year declared a ''fundamental commitment'' to close the rift.

Christianity's East-West split began as early as the fifth century over the rising influence of the papacy and later over wording of the creed, or confession of faith. The split was sealed in 1054 with an exchange of anathemas -- spiritual repudiations -- between the Vatican and the patriarch of Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey, and still the spiritual center of Orthodoxy." ...

Associated Press "Religion News in Brief" New York Times September 28, 2006

Saint Michael's Orthodox Cathedral and Monastery, Kyiv, Ukraine, was damaged by the Nazi's and later razed by the Soviet Government to make space for a planned, but never built, expansion of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Cathedral/Monastery complex was rebuilt, incorporating some original area religious structures, over the period 1992 to 2004. In the foreground, to the left, is a small memorial to the millions of victims of famine following Stalin's forced agricultural collectivization, in Ukraine, in two waves in the late 1920s and 1930s.

Photo credit: With thanks.


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