Russians call meeting between Pope, Orthodox Patriarch significant

MOSCOW -- Russians ranging from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to ordinary citizens are seeing the landmark meeting of the heads of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches as having significance far beyond religious doctrine.

See Full Article

The meeting in Havana, Cuba, on Friday between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill was the first between the two church's leaders. Popes have previously met with other leaders of Orthodox churches; the two churches split about a millennium ago.

Russia's is the largest of the Orthodox churches.

Medvedev, speaking Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, said the pope-patriarch meeting could encourage closer relations between Moscow and the West.

"Just yesterday we saw a bright example in the religious area of how the movement of one toward the other is beginning," he said.

Yevgeny Fedorov, a 59-year-old construction worker, held a similar view.

"Maybe this is a small push toward unity, more respect, more correctness in our relations," he said outside Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, one of the city's most prominent Orthodox sites. But, he added, ""I don't think the West will begin to respect us tomorrow because of the meeting."

The Orthodox-Catholic split involves an array of doctrinal issues including papal infallibility and the nature of the Holy Trinity. In addition, the Russian church has bristled at what it believes to efforts by Catholics in the post-Soviet decades to siphon away believers who it feels should have been Orthodox when the Communist repression of religion was ended.

The Havana meeting is likely to do little to resolve the core disputes, theologian Pyotr Chistyakov told the state news agency Tass.

"In the near future, there can hardly be a resolution of the principal differences between the churches," he said. "It's likely that the sides understood the theological questions are complex and problematic and it was better simply not to discuss them, and instead speak about urgent problems that distress both sides -- the political situation, terrorism and the crisis of traditional society and traditional Christianity."

The meeting also was welcomed in strongly Orthodox Serbia. Senior Serbian Bishop Irinej said in an article on the church's website that he hoped the meeting would be "an inspiration for the truthful and peaceful dialogue and work of the representatives of the two Christian churches in our area as well, where Orthodox and Roman Catholics have been living together for centuries. "

Sinisa Mihajlovic, the coach of AC Milan, saw the meeting from both sides of the theological divide, being of mixed Orthodox and Catholic parentage.

"In a period like this, during which religion is often a pretext for war, a meeting of the leaders of two such important religions cannot be anything but an important sign of peace, and I am very happy," he said, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

Alexander Roslyakov in Moscow, Colleen Barry in Milan, Italy, and Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this story.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Okla. police continue hunt for man accused of killing relatives, filming crime spree

    World News CTV News
    GRAPHIC CONTENT warning: Some of the details in this story are disturbing. OKLAHOMA CITY -- Authorities have spent more than 24 hours seeking a man they say posted live videos to social media while running from police during a violent crime spree that included shooting two police officers, armed car thefts and killing his aunt and uncle, apparently attempting to sever their heads. Source
  • Getting North Korea to give up nukes a 'lost cause,' U.S. intel chief says

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- National Intelligence director James Clapper said Tuesday that the U.S. goal of persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons is probably a "lost cause" and the best hope is to cap its capability. Source
  • Advocacy group calls on B.C. to release provincewide stats on police-dog bites

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - A month after a bystander was mistakenly mauled by a Vancouver police dog, a legal advocacy group is calling on the provincial government to release newly gathered numbers outlining how many people are being bitten in British Columbia. Source
  • Trump miracle - on ice?

    World News Toronto Sun
    Donald Trump needs a miracle to get back into the U.S. presidential race — and the Democrats have outlawed miracles. Forgive me for borrowing from the classic flick Casablanca, but: “Well, Donald, we’ll always have Apprentice.” Only a Vegas drunk would bet on Trump beating Hillary Clinton and her Machiavellian machine on Nov. Source
  • 'I couldn't believe it's real': Residents of Woodstock, Ont., nursing home stunned by murder charges

    Canada News CBC News
    They are rattled and scared, but mostly the Woodstock, Ont., residents of Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Home are in disbelief that a former nurse has been accused of murdering eight patients — seven of them in their very own facility. Source
  • 'I couldn't believe it's real': Residents of Woodstock, Ont., facility stunned by murder charges

    Canada News CBC News
    They are rattled and scared, but mostly the Woodstock, Ont., residents of Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Home are in disbelief that a former nurse has been accused of murdering eight patients — seven of them in their very own facility. Source
  • 5 questions about British Airways Flight 286 emergency landing in Vancouver

    Canada News CBC News
    Hundreds of passengers were stranded at Vancouver International Airport today, scrambling for flights after their British Airways plane to London made an emergency landing late Monday night. We know that 22 cabin crew and three pilots from the plane went to hospitals in the Vancouver area and were released shortly after. Source
  • Three Canadians to appear in Australian court on drug-smuggling charges

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — The three Canadian cruise ship passengers charged in Australia with drug smuggling are scheduled to appear in a Sydney courtroom Wednesday. Andre Tamine, 64, Isabelle Lagace, 28, and Melina Roberge, 23, were arrested in late August after the MS Sea Princess, operated by California-based Princess Cruises, berthed in the Australian metropolis. Source
  • Two kids were lucky to survive accident at Australia theme park, police say

    World News CTV News
    SYDNEY, Australia - Two young children are fortunate to be alive, police said Wednesday, after they were thrown clear and survived an accident that killed four people on a river rapids ride at a popular theme park in Australia. Source
  • U.S. says alleged Bali bombing figure to stay at Guantanamo

    World News CTV News
    MIAMI -- A U.S. government review board has rejected the release of the alleged Southeastern Asian terrorist leader known as Hambali from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Periodic Review Board said in a short statement released Tuesday that Hambali continues to be a "significant threat to the security of the United States. Source