Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Pope to visit Serbia for Orthodox celebrations in 2013?

Catholic World News - April 20, 2012

As both Catholic and Orthodox Christians prepare to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the conversion of Emperor Constantine and the Edict of Milan, there is speculation that Pope Benedict XVI could be invited to join in Orthodox celebrations at Nis, in Serbia, the birthplace of Constantine, in 2013.

Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej first suggested an invitation to the Pontiff while he was serving as Bishop of Nis. He repeated the idea after becoming head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in January 2010. However, an actual invitation to the Pope would have to come from the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and there are some bishops opposed to the idea. Pope Benedict would be highly unlikely to visit Serbia without an invitation from the Serbian Orthodox hierarchy.

At an April 17 press conference unveiling Vatican plans for the 1700th anniversary celebrations, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said that any suggestions of a papal trip to Serbia are speculative. At this point, the papal spokesman said, there are no set plans for any papal trips abroad in 2013.

The Serbian Orthodox Church has not yet revealed its own plans for the anniversary celebrations at Nis. However there are some indications that there could be two celebrations: one for the Orthodox, another with a more ecumenical focus. That approach would allow the Serbian hierarchy to invite Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill to one celebration and Pope Benedict to another—satisfying the insistence of the Moscow patriarchate that more preparation is necessary before a meeting between the Pope and the Russian Patriarch.

Metropolitan Hilarion, the top ecumenical official of the Moscow patriarchate, visited Serbia in April of last year, and there were rumors that he would discourage an invitation to the Pope. But the Russian prelate reported that “this topic was deliberately not discussed” during his meetings with Serbian Orthodox officials, and the Serbian Church should settle the question on its own.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our July expenses ($33,668 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,332.00
96% 4%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Vatican statement clarifies duties of Catholic faithful after Obergefell decision 13 hours ago
Political battles vs. sacrificial service: The Brooks paradox revisited 18 hours ago
A Baptist leader with a message the Synod of Bishops should hear June 30
'Helpful' advice for social conservatives: ignore causes, deal with effects June 30
In the Aftermath of Obergefell June 30

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope approves process for holding bishops accountable in abuse cases CWN - June 10
Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical released (includes link to full text) CWN - June 18
US Supreme Court rules all states must recognize same-sex marriage CWN - June 26
Archbishop Nienstedt, auxiliary bishop resign CWN - June 15
Cardinal Kasper: Pope never approved my proposal CWN - June 4