Hilarion: “Rome and Moscow can speak with one voice”

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January 18, 2016 – Fort Russ News –

– ZENIT — “the world seen from Rome” translated from Italian by Tom Winter

Pope Francis with Metropolitan Hilarion, FM of the Moscow Patriarchate

Hilarion: “Roma e Mosca possono parlare a una sola voce”

The head of the department for foreign relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow speaks of ecumenical progress and shared challenges that Catholics and the Orthodox can face together. 

A papal visit to Russia is not on the agenda, and there is not a currently scheduled new meeting between the Bishop of Rome and Kirill, the Russian Orthodox Patriarch. However, ecumenical relations between Rome and Moscow are good. “There are many things we can do together” and if “our Churches talk while joining their voices, the message is definitely stronger and more incisive.” Thus spoke the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, Hilarion, head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, in an interview to to the news agency Sir and Famille Chrétienne.*

Hilarion met with Pope Francis in December last year, the occasion being to congratulate him for his 80th birthday and to speak of “common topics that interest us.”

In the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Russian Orthodox representative says: “Too often, we do things separately. For example, the Pope made a statement and the Patriarch said on his part the same thing, but both of them separately. I am convinced that the message proclaimed, can become stronger if both were speaking with one voice “.

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The example is that of Havana, where in February, Francis and Kirill signed a joint document. On that occasion, the two religious leaders were “able to speak together and act in concert.” According Hilarion “in this way, we will always be more effective.”

Hilarion then addressed the theme of secularisation, remembering the words of the cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The cardinal said: “We should not fear a strong Islam but a weak Christianity.”

Concept shared by Hilarion, who says: “I think if we are strong as Christians, we have nothing to fear. Because our Christian identity gives us a strength that comes directly from God and Christ. Secularized societies, just as there are in many countries of Europe, are societies that are very weak from a spiritual point of view. 

There are multiple values for which it is worth sacrificing one’s life. You can not give your life for the secular values. And if we are not ready to sacrifice our life, then the battle is lost. “
*Famille Chretienne has a paywall, so we have this version from Zenit, from the Vatican

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