Moscow Patriarchate Opposes Catholic Reinforcements

MOSCOW, FEB. 7, 2002 ( Russian Orthodox Church says it opposes the Holy See´s plan to reinforce the structure of the Catholic Church in Russia.

These plans “violate the canonical rules and the principle of relation between the Churches,” a spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate said today. The patriarchate believes the only Christians in Russia should be Orthodox.

According to sources quoted by ITAR-Tass agency, the Holy See intends to increase the number of pastoral structures to respond to the needs of the growing number of Catholics.

“Such an action would be a serious obstacle for dialogue between the two Churches,” the Russian Orthodox Church´s spokesman warned.

The Vatican and the Moscow Patriarchate have had tense relations since the fall of communism. The Orthodox accuse Rome of proselytism in lands that depend on the patriarchate. The Orthodox also oppose the rebirth of Eastern-rite Catholic communities, which were forced to join the Orthodox during the Stalin era.