By Harry Winter, O.M.I.
Eastern Orthodox Christians, and the various Eastern Christian Churches united with Rome, are extremely important in the work of Evangelization, Ecumenism and Dialogue with other religions. But their diversity of language and culture sometimes prevents them from doing this. Paradoxically, the efforts by Russia’s President Putin and the Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill, to take over the Ukraine has provoked the vast majority of Eastern Orthodox leaders, on March 13, 2022, to issue a document against Putin and Kirill, “A Declaration on the ‘Russian World’ Teaching” (see attachment).
After a very significant introduction, the authors describe their rejection in six paragraphs which are Biblically rich, quote the Epistle to Diognetus (read in several places in the Office of Readings in our breviary) and reinforce their reasoning with Church History. Each of the 500 Orthodox signed the Declaration and invited members from other Christian Churches to do the same, which is somewhat unusual for the conservative leaning Eastern Orthodox. Among the Catholic signers are Father Peter Phan of Georgetown University, Washington, DC, bi-ritual Archpriest James Babcock, and two Jesuits. As of March 28, 1245 have signed.
Please read this positive statement, which moves all Christian Churches much closer together. I welcome your insights and hope to have some from our Oblates in Poland and the Ukraine in the future.
For both the beauty and the complexity of Eastern Christianity, see that page on the Mission-Unity-Dialogue website: www.harrywinter.org.
My thanks to Fordham University’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center for permission to use their translation.