East/West Unity in our life time? Depends how long you live…

On a slightly more hopeful note than the opinion pieces regarding Anglican/Catholic unity below, there is a great interview with Archbishop Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church on the National Catholic Register’s site here. Here are some snippets:

What in the Orthodox view constitutes full Christian unity? What does it look like?

Full Christian unity is the Eucharistic communion. We do not need to reshape our Church administration, our local traditions. We can live with our differences within one Church, participating from one bread and one cup. We need, however, to rediscover what united us and what brought us to disunity, particularly in the 11th century.

Do you think complete union between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches is a possibility in our lifetime? What do you think would have to happen before it could come about?

I would respond by quoting the Pope: it depends on how long we will live. But I believe that the Eucharistic unity between the Orthodox and the Catholics is not something easily achievable within a few years because even if we look at our theological dialogue, it goes very slowly, and we sometimes are unable to solve even rather insignificant problems which existed in the past for many years.

So what has some of the dialogue been like in recent months? There’s been a lot of talk about breakthroughs and being on the verge of unity.

I believe that when some people talk about breakthroughs, it was a wishful thinking rather than anything close to reality. We are still at a rather early stage of the discussions. We still discuss the role of the bishop of Rome in the first millennium, and even on this issue we see clear differences between the Orthodox and the Catholics. If we come to the discussion of the second millennium, the differences will become much more obvious. Therefore we should not pretend that we are close to solving this problem.

BTW, you may not have realised it, but it seems that the NCR is now part of EWTN. The forces of light gather against the forces of darkness…

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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One Response to East/West Unity in our life time? Depends how long you live…

  1. matthias says:

    More grist to the mill of those Dispensationalists who view any union between rome and the eastern orthodox as the Super Church with the AntiChrist as “president” of this church in the first instance.However this is an honest response from Archbishop Hilarion.

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