Vatican: Creation of OCU stalls dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholics
The activity of Constantinople in Ukraine has brought the official theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox to a standstill.
On May 13, 2019, Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, stated that “a significant rupture between Orthodox churches in Ukraine has brought the official theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox to a standstill”, reports the Catholic resource “Crux”.
According to Brian Farrell, “we have a new problem”, after “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople signed a decree recognizing an independent church in Ukraine despite strong criticism from the Russian Orthodox Church” in January 2019.
“The Orthodox schism in Ukraine has been reported as the most significant ecclesial fracture since the original break between Catholics and Orthodox in 1054. The Vatican has not taken an official position on the split, insisting it is an internal Orthodox matter,” says the Catholic resource.
Today the Russian Church, which is the largest Orthodox Christian body, have withdrawn from common projects with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, including the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church. This happened despite the fact that in 2016 Pope Francis became the first pope in history to meet with the Patriarch of Moscow and has had close relations with representatives of the Russian church.
Farrell expressed the hope that the dialogue would eventually resume. “These things happen,” he said. “For example, in the year 2000, our dialogue with the Orthodox, Catholic-Orthodox dialogue broke down over the question of the new tensions rising in the former Soviet countries. And it took six years to get the dialogue back on track.”
As the UOJ reported, earlier the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at its meeting on April 3, 2019, discussed the situation in the church life of Ukraine and world Orthodoxy, as well as the newly established Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and published the Statement on Ukrainian and world Orthodoxy.