Says that if the Orthodox had not held on to their traditions, they never would have survived the persecutions…interesting, from Interfax Religion:
Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia has greeted the recent decree of Pope Benedict XVI providing more freedom to celebrate the ancient Latin Mass.
The motu proprio Summorum Pontificum that provides more freedom to use the pre-Vatican II Missal ‘is a positive fact,’ Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia said to comment on the Roman Catholic Church reintroducing her ancient liturgical form.
‘We strongly adhere to the tradition. Without being faithful to her liturgy the Russian Orthodox Church would have failed to survive persecutions in 1920s and 1930s,’ the Russian primate told the Italian daily Il Giornale a few days ago after celebration liturgy in the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Kremlin.
The patriarch opined that the pope’s decision might contribute to establishing closer links with the Orthodox Churches, the daily said.
The Patriarch also hints at what is necessary for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, again from Interfax:
“Pope Benedict has said on many occasions that he wants to promote dialogue and cooperation with the Orthodox Churches, and this is a positive occurrence,” Alexy II said in an interview published by the Italian newspaper Il Giornale.
A meeting with the pope must be thoroughly prepared, he said.
“It must not be merely an occasion for a few photos or for an appearance before TV cameras. It must strengthen ties between our two Churches,” Alexy II said.
“Even now, some of the Catholic bishops and missionaries see Russia as a territory of missionary activities. But Russia, Holy Rus, which has been permeated with faith for centuries and the Orthodox Church, guarded with God’s blessing, is not a place for missionary activities,” he said.
Alexy II said that it is the first issue to be settled before organizing a meeting.
The second one is the activities of the Greek Catholics Church. “We are concerned about the Uniates as a phenomenon and we can see this tendency even in the regions where it was not common – in eastern Ukraine, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan and even in Russia,” the patriarch said.
“When these issues are settled an opportunity will emerge for a meeting, and it will have sense then,” Alexy II said.
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