Catholic / Orthodox Relations
More Criticism Of New Russian Dioceses
Catholic World News, 2/12/2002
Moscow - The Russian Orthodox Church continued to criticize the Catholic Church on Monday for elevating four apostolic administrations to formal dioceses and even the Russian foreign ministry rapped the move.
The Orthodox Church's Holy Synod called the announcement of the four dioceses "a challenge to Orthodoxy," and accused the Vatican of creating "an unprecedented structure, a Russian Catholic Church," in order to convert Russians from Orthodoxy to Catholicism. "Nothing of this kind has ever happened in Russia's history," it said.

Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, who now heads the new Archdiocese of the Mother of God of Moscow and is metropolitan over all four sees, rejected the Orthodox claims, saying it was merely a "normalization of the Catholic Church structure in Russia," replacing the temporary structure of the apostolic administrations. "I absolutely disagree with the accusation of proselytizing," he said.

Russia's foreign ministry also criticized the Catholic Church saying it had warned the Vatican against the action when notified of the Vatican's intentions on February 4. The ministry said it had cautioned that creating the diocese might lead to a "serious exacerbation" of ecumenical relations.
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