Optimistic comments earlier this week by the Most Rev. Paolo Pezzi, Catholic Archbishop of Moscow about the future of Catholic-Orthodox reunification elicited quite a 'buzz' in the blogosphere. A few days later, Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow, arrived in Rome for a planned meeting with Pope Benedict.
Here is a selection from Archbishop Hilarion's speech in Rome delivered on Thursday, September 17.
We live in a de-Christianized world, in a time that some define—mistakenly—as post-Christian. Contemporary society, with its practical materialism and moral relativism, is a challenge to us all. The future of humanity depends on our response, as Christians, to this challenge, and maybe even whether life continues on our planet. It is a common challenge and also our answer must be common. Only together can we put forward all the spiritual and moral value of the Christian faith; only together can we offer our Christian vision for the family, only together can we affirm our concept of social justice, of a more equal distribution of goods.
These moral values are traditional because they have been affirmed by Christians for 20 centuries and have formed our cultural and European civilization. They are, at the same time, very new and modern, because the Gospel of Jesus is eternally new and modern. With this common challenge, the contemporary world challenges us, and we Christians must be together. It's time to pass from confrontation to solidarity, mutual respect, and esteem. I would say without hesitating that we must pass to mutual love, living out Jesus’s commandment to love one another. As Jesus said, all will know you are disciples of mine if you have love for the other. This is what our preaching demands and it can be effective, it can be convincing, also in our contemporary world, if we are able to live this mutual love among us as Christians. (my emphases)
Please continue to pray for the reconciliation and reunion of Orthodox, Protestants, and Catholics.