Priorities for Kirill from a Russian Orthodox blogger’s perspective
Russian-American blogger Aleksandr Andreev has taken us to task for saying a key question after the election of the new Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill is when he will meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict. “Who cares? Honestly, there are more important issues in Russian Orthodoxy than whether or not the Patriarch meets the Pope of Rome,” he wrote in a comment. When I asked him to elaborate, he posted a response you can find on his Typicon Man’s Blog.
(Photo: Patriarch Kirill’s crowning ceremony, 1 Feb 2009/Sergei Karpukhin)
Andreev lists these issues as administrative problems facing parishes, missionary outreach for unchurched Orthodox, social ministry including military chaplaincy programs, issues of jurisdiction within the Church, finances, roles for the laity, juristiction in Estonia and relations with the Old Ritualists.
This is a very useful list and I’m grateful to him for providing it. He also added an interesting concluding comment: “Luckily, Patriarch Cyrill is well prepared to address these issues. Brilliantly educated, incredibly smart, an excellent orator, he is greatly respected both by his fellow bishops and by those outside of the Church. If Patriarch Alexey’s tenure was the “Second Baptism of Russia”, then Patriarch Cyrill’s may well be Russia’s Second Chrismation.”
That said, I still think the most interesting issue for a blog about religion news around the world is the question of Kirill’s relations with other churches. It’s hard to think it deserves no mention in a list of priorities, even in last place. It may not be the most important issue seen from within the Church, but it’s the one most likely to interest church leaders and readers abroad.