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Returning to the future.

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Generally speaking of course, the Orthodox of the ‘old country’ do not care for all the dialogue lobbied for by Catholics since the II Vatican Council, or with anyone for that matter.

But not a few in recent years have come to notice that if they should be speaking with anyone it should be the so-called ‘traditionalists’ in the West, with whom they feel they share more in common.

It is therefore only logical for the Eastern Orthodox to ask, somewhat dismissively, if they and their liturgy & disciplines should expect, after reunion with the Western half of the Church, to be treated the same by progressives there as, for example, the Society of St. Pius X has been for 40 years.

For those looking for a stabler basis (than dialogue) and longing for a pastoral rapprochement or even reunion of East & West, the words of the late Patriarch of Moscow, Alexei II, sum up the Orthodox assessment of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum.

That is, what the rehabilitation of the Roman Liturgy of 1962 means for Orthodox-Catholic relations to this day.

In answer to Andrea Tornielli’s questions, the late Patriarch said the following, with English translation found farther below:

Il Papa ha pubblicato un documento con il quale ripristina la possibilità di utilizzare il messale di San Pio V per la celebrazione eucaristica. Come giudica lei questa decisione?

«Il recupero e la valorizzazione dell’antica tradizione liturgica è un fatto che noi salutiamo positivamente. Noi teniamo moltissimo alla tradizione. Senza la custodia fedele della tradizione liturgica, la Chiesa ortodossa russa non sarebbe stata in grado di resistere all’epoca delle persecuzioni, negli anni Venti e Trenta del Novecento. In quel periodo noi abbiamo avuto tanti nuovi martiri, che come numero possono essere paragonati all’epoca dei primi martiri cristiani».

Santità, come giudica i rapporti tra Roma e Mosca in questo momento?

«Mi sembra che Papa Benedetto XVI abbia ripetuto più volte di volersi impegnare per favorire il dialogo e la collaborazione con le Chiese ortodosse. E questo è positivo».

Taken from the published interview at , titled “Alessio II: «Bene il ritorno alla messa in latino» – nostro inviato a Mosca – Il Motu proprio di Benedetto XVI che ha liberalizzato l’uso del messale antico «è un fatto che noi salutiamo positivamente»”, by Andrea Tornielli, Il Giornale, 29 August 2007, n. 203, p. 25 (accessed 2 March 2013).

* Translation:

The Pope has published a document which restores the possibility to use the Missal of St. Pius V for the Eucharistic celebration. How would you judge that decision?

“The recovery and valuing of the ancient liturgical tradition is a fact that we greet positively. We hold very strongly to tradition. Without faithfully guarding the liturgical tradition, the Russian Orthodox Church would not have been in a position to resist during the period of persecution, in the 20′s and 30′s in the 1900′s. In that time we had many new martyrs, whose number can be compared to the epoch of the first Christian martyrs.”

Holiness, how do you see the relationship between Rome and Moscow right now?

“It seems that Pope Benedict XVI has repeated may [sic] times that he desires to work in favor of dialogue and collaboration with the Orthodox Churches. This is positive.”

* The above translation is taken from “What do the Prayers Really Say”, a blog of Rev. Father John Zuhlsdorf, at http://wdtprs.com/blog/2007/08/moscow-patriarch-in-favor-of-motu-proprio-and-older-mass/ — accessed March 5, 2013 at 14:03 pm EST US.

Please God their Eminences now convened in Rome will come to remember these things, and more, at conclave: that the Spirit of Truth, the Strengthening-One, shall bring to their minds all that Christ has taught.

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