May 12, Interfax –
The Russian Church has once again reassured that it thinks impossible for the Orthodox believers to conduct services together with members of other Christian confessions.
“We would like once again to confirm our intention to refrain from participating in communal prayers with unorthodox believers,” said a member of the secretary for interchristian relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Priest Alexander Vasyutin to Interfax-Religion.
According to the priest, this issue becomes important again in the process of organization of the 13th General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches which is scheduled to be held in July, 2009 in Lyon, France.
Fr. Alexander, who is also a member of the organization committee of the Assembly, said that “the standpoint of the Russian Orthodox Church unfortunately finds little understanding with members of other local Orthodox Churches.”
As a case in point, Fr. Alexander told us that at the recent meeting of the committee Metropolitan Emmanuel of France (the Patriarchate of Constantinople) replied answering to the proposal to keep from interconfessional prayers during the Assembly that “the standpoint of the Moscow Patriarchate on this matter reminds him of a husband who has a wife, but does not sleep with her.”
Besides, this Constantinople representative asked a question: “Why do members of the Moscow Patriarchate always refuse to participate in common prayers with unorthodox believers, while Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia conducted the common service with the Catholic clergy in the Notre Dame de Paris during his stay in Paris in October, 2007.”
“There is no need to repeat information distributed by many church and secular media that the Notre Dame de Paris held the Orthodox service where members of the Catholic Church were only present, including the Archbishop of Paris Andre Vingt-Trois. So, any common service or prayer is definitely out of the question,” said Fr. Alexander.