Monday, November 20, 2006

Pope Pays to Rebuild Russian Church

Pope Benedict XVI has made a significant financial contribution to the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch ALEXEI II has thanked the pope for the move. According to this Roman Catholic news source:

Moscow, Nov. 17 (CWNews.com) - Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II has sent a message of thanks to Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news), after the Pontiff made a donation to help rebuild an Orthodox cathedral damaged by fire.

Pope Benedict had sent a €10,000 contribution to help repair Trinity cathedral in St. Petersburg, after a fire that seriously damaged the building, collapsing the dome. In a letter of thanks released on November 16, the Russian patriarch thanked the Pope for the donation, which he characterized as "a sign of sincere love for the Russian Orthodox Church."

Patriarch Alexei said that the reconstruction of the cathedral was a matter of keen interest to Orthodox believers because the building is a "unique architectural masterpiece." He added that he hoped the Pope's generosity could be "a sign of further development of our relations."

Earlier this week, in an interview with Paris Match magazine, the Russian patriarch had shown unusual openness to the possibility that he might someday arrange a face-to-face meeting with the Pontiff. "If such an encounter took place-- perhaps in a third country-- it would be a historic event of exceptional importance," he said.

During the pontificate of John Paul II, Patriarch Alexei scuttled plans for a "summit meeting" with the Pontiff on at least two occasions, saying that the encounter could not take place until the Vatican provided a satisfactory response to Orthodox complaints of Catholic "proselytism" in traditionally Orthodox countries. Patriarch Alexei repeated those complaints in his interview with Paris Match.


(Hat Tip: LeoXIII on York Forum.)

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