Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Prohibition of Prayers "With So-Called Heretics" Does Not Work in "Modern Inter-Christian Situation", Metropolitan Kirill (Gundiaev) Believes

(Blagovest-Info – Vertograd, Moscow)

Metropolitan Kirill (Gundiaev) of Smolensk (Moscow Partiarchate) gave his interpretation of the canon that prohibits any joint prayers with the non-Orthodox, speaking at the round-table discussion "Practical aspects of Orthodox Sacramentology" within the 5 th International Theological Conference of Moscow Patriarchate on November 16.

Metropolitan Kirill believes that the canon that prohibits any prayers "with so-called heretics" is a "very important canon that on no account can be reduced or removed from the agenda". Metropolitan explained that the main aim of this canon is "to prevent the destruction of Church". "The aim of that canon is to avoid the mimicry. The schism always tries to present itself as a Church, and when people pray together, it gives the illusion of unity". This canon have not lost its importance up till our days, for example, it "completely works toward the schismatics at the Ukraine"

But according to Metropolitan Kirill, this canon "does not work" in "modern inter-Christian situation", because this situation is not dangerous for the unity of Church. "For example the relations between Orthodox and Catholic Churches, or between Orthodox and Protestant Churches at the level of international organizations are not dangerous in this sense, because no mimicry is possible here. In our days there is no danger that common prayer, for example common prayer 'Our Father' (I am not speaking about common service) will undermine the union of church. That is why people come together and say: 'Let us pray together', not in order to mislead anybody and tear away parishioners, but in order to pray together for our sins, for the fact that we are still divided", -- Metropolitan Kirill explained.

Metropolitan Kirill emphasized that he supports "a very strict fulfillment" of this canon "in those situations that caused the formulation of that canon, namely when it is important to protect the unity of the local Christian communion". For that reason Metropolitan Kirill "strongly objects the prayers with the current schismatics at the Ukraine, because this is really a mimicry that will destroy the unity of Church". However he finds "acceptable" joint prayers with non-Orthodox when the situation is not dangerous for the unity of Church.

Metropolitan Kirill added that common prayers with the non-Orthodox are possible for Orthodox people "only with the blessing of the Hierarchy". In this statement Metropolitan Kirill follows the heretical decision of the Sobor of Moscow Patriarchate that stated in 1994 the possibility of joint prayers with the non-Orthodox if the ruling bishop blesses it.