Armenian Leader Has Positive Outlook For Catholic-Orthodox Relations

VATICAN, Sep 19, 01 ( - Catholicos Karekin II, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, is confident that a meeting between the leader of the Russian Orthodox world and a Vatican official will "reinforce fraternal dialogue" and promote Christian unity.

Catholicos Karekin-- who will play host to a meeting between Patriarch Aleksei II of Moscow and Cardinal Walter Kasper of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity-- told the Italian newspaper Avvenire that he is "convinced that the desire for unity has never flagged in our sister churches."

That reassurance came just one day after a public statement by the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk, the chief foreign-affairs officer for the Moscow Patriarchate, complained about the upcoming trip by Pope John Paul II to Kazakhstan. "Once again," Metropolitan Kirill said, "the Pontiff is going to visit a canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Moscow without the blessing of Aleksei II."

Catholicos Karekin, whose Armenian Apostolic Church enjoys extremely warm relations with the Holy See, took a very different attitude toward the approaching papal visit. "We are waiting for John Paul II with immense joy," he said.

The meeting between Patriarch Aleksei and Cardinal Kasper will come during a celebration of the 1700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia. The visit by Pope John Paul has been timed to occur just after the ceremony that Aleksei will attend. Organizers of the event wanted to avoid any difficulties, recognizing that the Russian Patriarch has refused to meet with the Holy Father.

Catholic World News Service - Daily News Briefs
19. september 2001

av Webmaster publisert 20.09.2001, sist endret 20.09.2001 - 18:34