An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Hat tip to Fr. C. I wholly agree with the Patriarch's notion of our common challenges becoming "a solid basis for good relations and mutually beneficial cooperation." Surely we can do this without minimizing our theological differences, right?
16 April 2007, 13:51 Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia's greetings letter to Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of his 80th birthday
I cordially greet you on the occasion of your 80th birthday.
On this solemn day of your jubilee, may I express my special admiration of your life that has wholly been dedicated to the church ministry. You were young when you were ordained and since then you have led a praiseworthy life culminating in your election to high and eminent position of the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church.
As a minister of the Church, you have long been a famous theologian fully dedicated to defending and affirming of traditional Christian values. What makes your position especially convincing is that you as a theologian are not merely a theoretically thinking scholar, but above all a sincere and deeply devoted Christian who speaks of the abundance of his heart (cf. Matthew 12.34).
I share many of the insights of your theological works and I would like to underline coinciding of our Churches' views on most vital issues with which the modern world challenges Christianity. I am deeply persuaded that it should become a solid basis for good relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
I wholeheartedly wish you good health, many years of life, and God's help in your high ministry.
+Alexy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia April 16, 2007
This is the same conversation we were having on an earlier post. The problem is that we Americans, esp. converts, are able to compartmentalize our theological beliefs, and actually change them when the need arises. It's good that we can do this. But in the Old World, theological beliefs and practices are woven into everything else, including morals and politics and culture. The result is what looks to us like compromises. It's not possible for this Roman/Russian dialogue to truly take place without in some sense altering the theological views. Note that the theological views and differences can technically stay the same, while the context changes, i.e. the minimization you're talking about. I think you have every reason to be very concerned.
I don't think the talks will lead the Russians anywhere they don't already want to go anyway. And I insist that it won't affect those who remain Orthodox, unless you get a big kick out of playing the numbers game, in which case, you should've remained Baptists. I mean, good grief, if our predecessors could be martyred and see their families martyred without apostasizing or worrying themselves to death about the "Future of the Church," maybe we should learn a thing or two from them.