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Catholic World News News Feature

Ecumenical progress, Russian isolation, after Catholic-Orthodox talks October 19, 2007

Recent ecumenical talks between Catholic and Orthodox theologians were a substantial step forward, despite the objections of the Russian Orthodox hierarchy, according to a spokesman for the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

In a conversation with the AsiaNews service, Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamon said that the decision of the Moscow patriarchate to walk out of meetings in Ravenna, Italy, reflected the “authoritarianism” in the Russian approach, and said that the Moscow patriarchate was “isolated” since “no other Orthodox Church followed its lead.”

Metropolitann Ioannis, who co-chaired the Ravenna meeting along with Cardinal Walter Kasper, noted that a statement drawn up during the discussions had won unanimous approval. That agreement, he said, “overshadowed the pullout of the Russian delegation.”

The Russian Orthodox participants had refused to join in the talks at Ravenna because a delegation from the Estonian Orthodox Church-- which Russia does not recognize-- was included. Metropolitan Ioannis noted that the Estonian Church was recognized by the Patriarch of Constantine, since the Estonian Orthodox Church had been recognized as an independent entity until it was suppressed by Soviet forces.