- Dec 9, 2019
If independence for the Orthodox church in Ukraine is followed by unification of its various branches, it could open the door for surprising ecumenical progress with the Vatican.
The second highest-ranking official in the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, is preparing for his August trip to Russia. The historic event represents a key step in Pope Francis’s courtship with President Putin, with one eye pointed toward ambitious ecumenical possibilities with the Orthodox Church and the other fixed on the Middle East.
Catholics may be tempted to see June’s “Holy and Great Council” of the Orthodox churches as having nothing to do with them, but that’s a serious mistake. Catholics have an investment in whether the Orthodox get their act together for theological, pastoral, and political reasons.
A spokesperson for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church says its decision not to participate in the “Great and Holy Council,” designed to bring together the heads of all 14 independent Orthodox churches in Crete later this month, is final. Organizers say the summit is going ahead anyway, and Pope Francis is sending a Vatican delegation to observe.
KIEV, UKRAINE — Almost 23 years after its independence from the Soviet Union, Ukraine is, in many ways, fighting two wars at the same time: An internal one against corruption, and an external one with Russia. In both cases, religious leaders are on the front lines — either praying in