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Metropolitan Hilarion: Unification of the Orthodox and the Catholics is out of the question

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In the beginning of December, Pope Francis of Rome, during his meeting with Archbishop Jeronymos II of Athens and All Greece, uttered the words, which many perceived as apologies to the Orthodox for mistakes made in history by the Catholics. In particular, it was said, “Worldly concerns poisoned us, weeds of suspicion increased our distance, and I say shamefully, I acknowledge that decisions of the Catholic Church had nothing to do with Jesus and the Gospel”.

Ms. Yekaterina Gracheva, the hostess of the Church and the World TV program, asked Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, whether these statements were steps on the way to the unification of the Orthodox and the Catholics and whether this unification is possible.

“Nobody speaks of the unification of the two Churches, because the divisions have existed for a very long time; many contradictions have accumulated - in effect, the two Churches have lived independent lives for almost ten centuries”, Metropolitan Hilarion noted, “There are differences in understanding the fundamental Christian dogmata on the veneration of saints issue. For instance, there are those who are venerated as saints in the Orthodox Church but not acknowledged as such in the Catholic Church, and there is a host of Catholic saints not acknowledged by the Orthodox Church. Therefore, unification is out of the question, but what can be the point is for us to put an end to the situation of rivalry, competition, enmity, which has been there for many centuries”.

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