You are told to pray especially for the people, that is, for the whole body, for all its members, the family of your mother the Church; the badge of membership is your love for each other. If you pray only for yourself, you pray for yourself alone. If each one prays for himself, he receives less from God’s goodness than the one who prays on behalf of others. – St. Ambrose of Milan
I have arrived in Iraq safely. I will resume posting as soon as possible.
I have become a very big fan of Bishop Hilarion lately. I’ve been devouring his writings and they are simply amazing! I think that it is very unfortunate, though, that he is dead correct in his assessment below. As a former Roman Catholic, I can vouch for the fact that, as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has said, the manner in which Catholic and Orthodox Churches “exist has become ontologically different.” The very soul and core of the nature of the Roman Church is much, much different from that of the Orthodox. I pray for the day that we will see the Roman Catholic Church return to Orthodoxy, but I believe that what would be required of the Roman Church for this to happen is beyond possibility. I will post more about this later on, including, eventually, a post about why I converted.
Until then, this, from Interfax:
Envoy says Orthodox-Catholic unity unlikely
Moscow, June 9, Interfax – A complete holy communion between Orthodox believers and Catholics is very unlikely, Russian Orthodox Church Representative to European International Organizations, Archbishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, said in an interview with the newspaper Soyuznoye Veche of the Russia-Belarus Union Parliamentary Assembly.
“I think we should not expect the complete unity of Orthodox and Catholic rites. The division occurred almost 1,000 years ago and it can hardly be repaired,” he said.
The archbishop said he does not think the differences between Orthodox believers and Catholics will evaporate in the third millennium.
At the same time, certain theological differences do not hamper cooperation and possible joint protection of common values, he said.
“We will not unite but we can learn to be allies and partners. We should not be rivals, we should be Christians who may differ in certain theological intricacies but have practically the same ideas about morals and social values,” he said.
Why did God create all things? Patristic theology answers the question in this way: ‘out of the abundance of His love and goodness’. ‘Because the good and transcendently good God was not content to contemplate Himself, but by a superabundance of goodness saw fit that there should be some things to benefit by and to participate in His goodness, He brings all things from nothing into being and creates them’, writes St John of Damascus. In other words, God desired that there should be something else taking part in His blessedness and partaking of His love.
“In any conflict with unbelievers or heretics, we should stop after we have twice reproved them (Titus 3:10). But where we are dealing with those who are eager to learn the truth, we should never grow tired of doing the right thing (Gal 6:9). And we should use both situations to test our own steadfastness.” – St. John Climacus.