ROC: There is no question of uniting Catholics and Orthodox
Metropolitan Hilarion commented on the words of the Pope at a meeting with the Primate of the GOC, Ieronymos II.
The head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) said in the programme "Church and World" on the Russia 24 channel, answering the question of whether the Pope's apology was a step towards uniting Orthodox Christians and Catholics, no one is speaking of unification, there are too many contradictions, reports mospat.ru.
According to him, the Pope's apology is an important contribution to the normalization of relations between the Orthodox and Catholics.
"No one is talking about the unification of the two Churches, because the divisions have existed for a very long time and there have been many contradictions. In fact, the two Churches have been living independent lives for almost ten centuries. There are differences in understanding of basic Christian dogmas, in honouring of saints. For example, there are persons who are venerated as saints in the Orthodox Church but who are not recognized as such in the Catholic Church, and there are many Catholic saints who are not recognized as such by the Orthodox Church. Therefore, there is no question of unification, but we can talk about ending the situation of rivalry, competition and hostility, which has existed for centuries," said Metropolitan Hilarion.
The head of the DECR MP added that the words of Pope Francis being discussed now are far from the first apology addressed to the Orthodox by the Roman pontiffs. Such words were also said by his predecessors, who spoke directly about the numerous mistakes made by Catholics in relation to the Orthodox.
Among such mistakes, Metropolitan Hilarion mentioned the creation of the union, which still serves as a divisive factor for the faithful.
"In fact, the Catholics tried in various ways to convert the Orthodox to Catholicism. And one of the ways was the union when the Orthodox were allowed to keep their liturgical rite, but they had to join the Catholic Church and fully accept the Catholic doctrine, including the doctrine of the universal jurisdiction of the Pope," Metropolitan Hilarion explained the essence of Uniatism.
"When Patriarch Kirill met with Pope Francis in Havana, they made a joint statement in which it was explicitly stated: Uniatism is not a method of achieving unity. This is a very important statement made by the Roman pontiff," Metropolitan Hilarion added.
As reported, in Greece the Pope apologised to the Orthodox for the mistakes of Catholics.