Global Independent Analytics
Anthony Salvia
Anthony Salvia

Location: USA

Specialization: Eastern Europe

Historic Encounter Between Pope and Patriarch Helps Thwart Efforts to Isolate Russia

Both Catholic and Orthodox leaders agree that cooperation is vital not only for the churches but also for the global world order.

According to published reports, the heads of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches -- Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, respectively -- will discuss aiding persecuted Christians when they meet in Havana – a matter on which the two churchmen are likely to agree.  The cosmic issues of church reunification and inter-communion and the complex of theological, ecclesiological and historical issues that flow in their wake will not be taken up.  That comes as no surprise. They could hardly be expected to undo centuries of mutual, sometimes bitter estrangement during a brief encounter in a lounge at Havana airport. 

Pope Francis is continuing in the vein of his predecessor Benedict XVI who relegated the cosmic inter-church issues to the back burner: he understood that their extreme complexity admitted of no easy solution, so he wisely left them to be sorted out by the Holy Ghost.  Instead, he sought increased cooperation between the two ancient, apostolic churches on the array of threats to both of them -- secular materialism, relativism, Europe's demographic decline, Islamic fundamentalism, and anti-Christian persecution in the Middle East and elsewhere, among others. 

For Benedict, essential to the revival of Europe’s Christian roots is friendship and solidarity between the Catholic and Orthodox churches based on shared concerns. 

The establishment of such a relationship can, God willing, have the side-effect of giving impetus to a stable, long-lasting pan-European entente putting a definitive end to the European civil war that broke out in 1917 and continued through the Cold War, including its tense, unhappy aftermath in which we continue to live.

Francis alluded to mounting East-West tensions when he observed, in remarks in Sarajevo in 2015, that “a kind of Third World War is being fought piecemeal… an atmosphere of war” hangs over the planet.   The historic encounter in Havana must be seen, in part, as an effort (however modest initially) to avert the impending disaster.

Having said that, the joint announcement of the meeting has no doubt caused plenty of unhappiness in the ranks of both churches.  One can well imagine that Patriarch Kirill, owing to the long-standing suspicions and resentments (sadly, not entirely unfounded) that some of his flock harbor towards Rome are under considerable pressure to cancel the meeting.  By the same token, one can well imagine that many Catholics in central and eastern Europe who oppose Russia will interpret the very fact that the meeting is taking place as evidence that Rome is giving its imprimatur to Russia and Russian policy.

Such Catholics have expressed in the recent past disappointment (not to say chagrin) over the Holy See's failure to accuse Russia of having invaded Ukraine, its support for the Minsk II agreement, its refusal thus far to extend diplomatic recognition to Kosovo, and its hesitation to designate the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church as Patriarch.

For these very reasons, one must also assume that powerful elements in the US foreign policy and media establishment are less concerned about what the Pope and the Patriarch will discuss in Havana than the fact that the meeting is taking place at all. 

I refer to those who seek Russia's isolation and ultimate encirclement and defeat.  With their geostrategic mindset, they will see the Havana meeting as offering Moscow --, i.e., the Kremlin -- a splendid opportunity to counter-encircle the encirclement.  Those, like the U.S. Secretary of Defense, who recently labeled Russia (fatuously) as the no. 1 threat facing the United States, cannot be happy about this development.

It will be interesting to gauge the reaction of the Republican candidates for president, some whom have called (irresponsibly) for a U.S. no-fly zone over Syria, endless sanctions against Russia, and confronting Russia everywhere.  The fact that the meeting is taking place in Cuba as two G.O.P. politicians of Cuban descent slug it out in the primary only adds to its considerable interest.

One should not overdo the politics and the potential for controversy in all of this.  There is also a serious, overarching spiritual dimension. 

If you believe that Christ desires the unity of the Church that he founded, you will certainly greet the meeting of the Pope and the Patriarch with joy.  It will not, in itself, bring about unity, and is not intended to, but it remains a joyous occasion because of who the Patriarch and the Pope are,  the promise entailed in their encounter, and the very idea that for all the challenges and difficulties that have engulfed the Christian Church in the past  decades, the eyes of the world remain riveted on what these two successors to the Holy Apostles say and do.

Related ARTICLES

Yucca Mountain – Sacred Native Land & Proposed Nuclear Waste Dump

Yucca Mountain – Sacred Native Land & Proposed Nuclear Waste Dump

Once again, the federal government proves itself as trustworthy as a two-headed rattler on methamphetamine.
Why would AIPAC dump Trump?

Why would AIPAC dump Trump?

It is possible that AIPAC was worried that Trump wouldn’t be pro-Israel enough, after last week’s gaffe when Trump said he would be “neutral” between Israel and the Palestinians.

08 April 2016

by Max J. Schindler

Thank You Mr. Trump: You have Stripped the Cloak of “Conservatism” from the GOP Establishment

Thank You Mr. Trump: You have Stripped the Cloak of “Conservatism” from the GOP Establishment

Please understand that this is NOT like any presidential election we have seen in this country...maybe since 1860.

02 April 2016

by Chuck Baldwin

POPULAR ARTICLES

Not Found

OPINION

Vladimir Golstein

Vladimir Golstein

The Danderous Acceptance of Donald Trump

James N. Green

James N. Green

Politics in Brazil: Fasten Your Seat Belts!

Barbara H. Peterson

Barbara H. Peterson

Health officials confirm spread of Zika virus through sexual contact in Texas, first in US

Danny Haiphong

Danny Haiphong

WHY IS OTTO(SUPER)MAN ERDOGAN LOSING HIS CHARISMA?

Miray Aslan

Miray Aslan

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Navid Nasr

Navid Nasr

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Writers

chief editor

Joshua Tartakovsky

Analysis should serve as a method to better understand our world, not to obscure it.

Materials: 42

Specialization: Israel and the Middle East, US politics

Materials: 7

Specialization: Balkans, NATO and EU policies, Strategic communications

Materials: 3

Specialization: Foreign politics, Immigration, Human rights.

Materials: 2

Specialization: Political Science, Social Anthropology

Materials: 3

Specialization: Eastern Europe

Materials: 14

Specialization: Industrial Safety, Corporations

Materials: 12

Specialization: Eastern Europe, Labor movement

Materials: 3

Specialization: American history, way of life, and principles

Danielle Ryan

Ireland

Materials: 10

Specialization: US foreign policy, US-Russia relations and media bias

Materials: 20

Specialization: War, Racism, Capitalist exploitation, Civil rights

Materials: 8

Specialization: Modern Japanese History, Modern Chinese History, Military History, History of Counterinsurgency, History of Disobedience, Dynamics of Atrocities in Wartime

Dovid Katz

Lithuania

Materials: 3

Specialization: Holocaust Revisionism and Geopolitics; East European Far Right & Human Rights; Yiddish Studies & Litvak Culture

Materials: 20

Specialization: History, Catalunya, Spain, Geopolitics, Nationalism in Europe, Islamization, Immigration

Materials: 5

Materials: 3

Specialization: migration, international relations

Materials: 1

Specialization: Syria, US Foreign policy and strategies, BRICS/SCO

Materials: 19

Specialization: Balkans, Yugoslavia

Materials: 10

Specialization: Jihadist Groups, Islamic Terrorism, Global Security

Materials: 4

Specialization: Geopolitics

Materials: 4

Specialization: Media and government relations

Materials: 2

Specialization: Latin America, Brazil

Jay Watts

Canada

Materials: 2

Specialization: History, Marxism-Leninism, Imperialism, Anti-imperialism.

Materials: 2

Specialization: International Relations, Sociology, Geostrategy

Materials: 1

Specialization: civil rights

Lionel Baland

Belgium

Materials: 22

Specialization: Euroscepticism, Patriotic parties of Europe

Maram Susli

Australia

Materials: 3

Specialization: Geopolitics

Materials: 2

Specialization: Civil rights, Racism, US politics

Materials: 1

Specialization: geopolitics, economics

Max J. Schindler

Palestine-Israel

Materials: 9

Specialization: Politics

Miray Aslan

Turkey

Materials: 12

Specialization: Media, Politics

Materials: 5

Specialization: Politics, International relations

Navid Nasr

Croatia

Materials: 13

Specialization: Global security, Politics

Materials: 9

Specialization: Development of European Union, Non-governmental organizations, Politics and economics in Baltic States

Materials: 9

Specialization: Greece, Crisis of the US hegemony; Israel / Occupied Palestine, Oppression of Black people in the US

Materials: 4

Specialization: geopolitics, Russia, USSR

Pedro Marin

Brazil

Materials: 17

Specialization: Latin America, Ukraine, North Korea

Materials: 13

Specialization: Sustainable development, International relations, Comparative European politics, European integration, Eastern European politics and EU-Russia relations

Materials: 8

Specialization: Politics

Materials: 16

Specialization: Counterterrorist Finance

Seyit Aldogan

Greece

Materials: 3

Specialization: ISIS, Middle East, Globalization, Migrant crisis

Materials: 1

Specialization: Head of "Srebrenica Historical Project"

Materials: 3

Specialization: Economy, Social politics

Stevan Gajic

Serbia

Materials: 1

Specialization: Full time researcher at the Institute for European Studies

Materials: 5

Specialization: Geopolitics, Geoeconomics

Materials: 2

Specialization: Civil rights

Tobias Nase

Germany

Materials: 8

Specialization: Syria, US Foreign policy, Ukraine

Valerijus Simulik

Lithuania

Materials: 2

Specialization: Politics and economics in Baltic States, education and science, non - governmental organizations, globalization and EU

Van Gelis

Greece

Materials: 17

Specialization: Middle East

Materials: 1

Specialization: Kosovo, Serbia, Belgrad bombing

Materials: 5

Specialization: international relations, Russia

toTop