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REVEALED: Russian Orthodox Church VS. Roman Catholic Church

Here is how relations between the two Churches have developed throughout history.




MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Monday marks the beginning of the four-day visit of Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to Russia, during which he is expected to hold meetings with Russian leadership and representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Roman Catholic Church is the biggest Christian Church uniting Catholic believers around the world. It is strictly centralized and hierarchical despite the existence of dozens of Local Catholic Churches in various countries. The Head of the Roman Catholic Church is the Pope, also known as the Pontiff, who has his residence in the Vatican.

Since the late 18th century and until 1917, Russia hosted the Apostolic Nunciature (embassy). The Metropolitan of the Roman Catholic Church in the Russian Empire was the Archbishop of Mogilev, who had his residence in St. Petersburg.

Under the Russo-Vatican Concordat of 1847, the Pope was recognized as the head of the Russian Catholics. In 1866, Russia broke off the Concordat unilaterally. The decision of St. Petersburg resulted in a situation whereby the Catholics of Russia and the Kingdom of Poland maintained contacts with the Roman Curia through the country’s interior ministers. All Catholic bishops were also appointed by the Russian emperors in agreement with the Pope.

READ MORE: The interesting history between Russia and the Vatican

After the October Revolution that took place in 1917, the Catholic priesthood came under the decree of the Soviet government on the separation of the Church from the State and the School from the Church issued on January 23, 1918 (on February 5, according to the Gregorian calendar).

In the USSR, there were two Roman Catholic hierarchies: the Lithuanian (the bishop’s jurisdiction extended only to Lithuania) and the Latvian (the Riga Archbishopric Ordinate ruled the Catholic Diocese in Latvia and dealt with Catholics in the entire USSR apart from Belarus, where an independent Minsk Diocese was formed in 1989).

Relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church reached a new level after the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965, which introduced substantive amendments to the social doctrine and the ecumenical principles of the Catholic Church and officially recognized the Orthodox Church. This enabled the Orthodox Church to start an official dialogue with the Catholic Church in 1980. A Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church has also been created.

Relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Moscow Patriarchate became tense in the early 1990s. The main problem was Catholic proselytism in Russia and other member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), as well as a conflict between Orthodox believers and Greek Catholics also known as Uniats in Western Ukraine.

By Catholic proselytism, the Moscow Patriarchate means “actions by representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, directed at involving Russians lacking a historical link with that [Catholic] Church but belonging to the Orthodox tradition by baptism and cultural roots into the liturgical and other church practices.”

Another problem was caused by tensions in relations between the Orthodox believers and Greek Catholics in Ukraine. The problem was aggravated by the Uniats overrunning three eparchies of the Moscow Patriarchate in Western Ukraine at the turn of the 1990s, the transition of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church center from Lviv to Kiev, its persistent desire to obtain the status of a Patriarchate, the expansion of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church mission to the traditionally Orthodox Eastern and Southern Ukraine, and the support the Uniats were giving to the Old Believers.

A Joint Working Group was established in 2004 to consider problems in relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

The unsolved problems in the relations between the two Churches were the reason why Pope John Paul II’s visit to Russia never took place and why the meeting between the Pope and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II scheduled to be held in 1997 in Austria’s Graz, was canceled. During preliminary talks in 1997, the parties drafted a joint statement which, among other things, renounced Greek Catholicism as a means for reunifying the Churches and the Catholic proselytism in Russia and other CIS countries. But at the last moment, the top hierarchs of the Roman Catholic Church decided to drop these essential points from the joint document. This made the nearly organized meeting absolutely senseless.

The bilateral conflict became exacerbated in 2002, when Pope John Paul II decided to raise the status of the Catholic Church’s administrations in Russia to a diocese. This unfriendly step called forth a response from the Russian government, the Russian Orthodox Church and the public. The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II, the Holy Synod, the Foreign Ministry, the country’s parliament and a number of influential public organizations, politicians, public and religious figures issued a statement on the issue. The Russian Orthodox Church was supported by representatives of other traditional faiths in Russia.

There is still the Uniate problem that prevents the two Churches from finally normalizing their relations. The situation has worsened as a result of recent events in Ukraine, in which Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church members are directly involved in anti-Russia activism and harbor anti-Russia sentiment.

The Russian Orthodox Church’s relations with the Roman Catholic Church are based on the Main Principles Guiding the Attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church toward the Non-Orthodoxy, which declare as the most important goal the “restoration of the God-ordained unity of Christians (John 17, 21), which is part of the design of God and belongs to the very essence of Christianity. This is a task of prime importance for the Orthodox Church at all levels of its existence.”

Apart from the nunciature-mediated dialogue, there are direct high-level contacts between President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity Cardinal Kurt Koch and Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s External Church Relations Department, Metropolitan Hilarion. Planned meetings on cultural relations and student exchanges are held every year. Hilarion attends the most important events in the life of the Roman Catholic Church.

Cooperation is being promoted with the Pontifical Council for Culture, which includes several Orthodox hierarchs.

In February 2015, a working group for cultural cooperation was launched based on agreements reached between the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

On February 12, 2016, Cuba hosted the historic meeting between the Primates of the Roman Catholic and the Russian Orthodox churches. Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis signed a joint declaration in Havana, which called on the world community to join efforts for the defense of Christians in the Middle East, Africa and other regions.

In 2016, the two Churches implemented several cultural cooperation projects, including the Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of the Vatican Pinacoteca exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, which was attended by 163,000 people.

The historic meeting of Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis resulted in another event: the holy relics of St. Nicholas were brought from Bari, Italy to Russia, which was a unique event in the last 930 years. The artifact arrived in Moscow on May 21, 2017, and was deposited at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. On July 13, the relics were transferred to the St. Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg. Almost 2.5 million pilgrims venerated the relics while they were in Russia.

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ArtJohn R. NolanDonato Esperarosewood11Nikos Yiasou Recent comment authors
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What a stupid title for this rather innocuous article.

John R. Nolan
John R. Nolan

Why do people worship ‘church’ rather than God? Why are people pretending that a denominational church is anything more than a man controlled, hierarchical system of Spiritual and economic domination and, realistically, has nothing to do with God. There is One Church and One God, the Lord Jesus Christ is it’s head, not man! Note the high towers, gold plating, the religious garb, especially the mitres, the wealth, the power of the whore and her daughters, all contrary to what the Bible teaches. The pomp and religious ceremonies are straight out of Babylon, where man has been put over man,… Read more »


Contrary to some others posting here, I learned quite a bit from this article. I had thought the big problem between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches was primarily a dispute on doctrinal grounds. Those issues remain, but political issues and proselytizing are also major problems. Recently, a Protestant man who has family ties to Orthodoxy tried to tell me that Patriarch Kirill had signed on to acknowledge the Pope as head of the Church when they met in Cuba. I didn’t quite believe that knowing what I did at the time, but this article completely refutes that (happily because… Read more »

Donato Espera
Donato Espera

I agree with you, even though I’m a Roman Catholic. I pray for the union of Orthodox and Catholic Church in Christ, but not under Bergoglio’s heresy.

John R. Nolan
John R. Nolan

Yes, soon all denominations will be joined to the beast, already most are signed up, and all world leaders, including Mr. Putin, worship the beast instead of God.
Could you please explain Bergoglio’s heresy, other than his claim to be God?
Could any show where the pope is infallible?
One suggests, Donato, that you search out your salvation with fear and trembling, for the whore has no power to forgive sins; it is only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that there is mercy, redemption from this cursed flesh, not any religion of man.


I also am Catholic. I agree with you 1000%


Is the Violent Dismemberment of Russia Official US Policy?

Neocons make the case that the West should not only seek to contain “Moscow’s imperial ambitions” but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.

The Duran



Authored by Erik D’Amato via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity:

If there’s one thing everyone in today’s Washington can agree on, it’s that whenever an official or someone being paid by the government says something truly outrageous or dangerous, there should be consequences, if only a fleeting moment of media fury.

With one notable exception: Arguing that the US should be quietly working to promote the violent disintegration and carving up of the largest country on Earth.

Because so much of the discussion around US-Russian affairs is marked by hysteria and hyperbole, you are forgiven for assuming this is an exaggeration. Unfortunately it isn’t. Published in the Hill under the dispassionate title “Managing Russia’s dissolution,” author Janusz Bugajski makes the case that the West should not only seek to contain “Moscow’s imperial ambitions” but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.

Engagement, criticism and limited sanctions have simply reinforced Kremlin perceptions that the West is weak and predictable. To curtail Moscow’s neo-imperialism a new strategy is needed, one that nourishes Russia’s decline and manages the international consequences of its dissolution.

Like many contemporary cold warriors, Bugajski toggles back and forth between overhyping Russia’s might and its weaknesses, notably a lack of economic dynamism and a rise in ethnic and regional fragmentation.But his primary argument is unambiguous: That the West should actively stoke longstanding regional and ethnic tensions with the ultimate aim of a dissolution of the Russian Federation, which Bugajski dismisses as an “imperial construct.”

The rationale for dissolution should be logically framed: In order to survive, Russia needs a federal democracy and a robust economy; with no democratization on the horizon and economic conditions deteriorating, the federal structure will become increasingly ungovernable…

To manage the process of dissolution and lessen the likelihood of conflict that spills over state borders, the West needs to establish links with Russia’s diverse regions and promote their peaceful transition toward statehood.

Even more alarming is Bugajski’s argument that the goal should not be self-determination for breakaway Russian territories, but the annexing of these lands to other countries. “Some regions could join countries such as Finland, Ukraine, China and Japan, from whom Moscow has forcefully appropriated territories in the past.”

It is, needless to say, impossible to imagine anything like this happening without sparking a series of conflicts that could mirror the Yugoslav Wars. Except in this version the US would directly culpable in the ignition of the hostilities, and in range of 6,800 Serbian nuclear warheads.

So who is Janusz Bugajski, and who is he speaking for?

The author bio on the Hill’s piece identifies him as a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington, D.C. think-tank. But CEPA is no ordinary talk shop: Instead of the usual foundations and well-heeled individuals, its financial backers seem to be mostly arms of the US government, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the US Mission to NATO, the US-government-sponsored National Endowment for Democracy, as well as as veritable who’s who of defense contractors, including Raytheon, Bell Helicopter, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Textron. Meanwhile, Bugajski chairs the South-Central Europe area studies program at the Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State.

To put it in perspective, it is akin to a Russian with deep ties to the Kremlin and arms-makers arguing that the Kremlin needed to find ways to break up the United States and, if possible, have these breakaway regions absorbed by Mexico and Canada. (A scenario which alas is not as far-fetched as it might have been a few years ago; many thousands in California now openly talk of a “Calexit,” and many more in Mexico of a reconquista.)

Meanwhile, it’s hard to imagine a quasi-official voice like Bugajski’s coming out in favor of a similar policy vis-a-vis China, which has its own restive regions, and which in geopolitical terms is no more or less of a threat to the US than Russia. One reason may be that China would consider an American call for secession by the Tibetans or Uyghurs to be a serious intrusion into their internal affairs, unlike Russia, which doesn’t appear to have noticed or been ruffled by Bugajski’s immodest proposal.

Indeed, just as the real scandal in Washington is what’s legal rather than illegal, the real outrage in this case is that few or none in DC finds Bugajski’s virtual declaration of war notable.

But it is. It is the sort of provocation that international incidents are made of, and if you are a US taxpayer, it is being made in your name, and it should be among your outrages of the month.

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At Age 70, Time To Rethink NATO

The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

Patrick J. Buchanan



Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:

“Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.”

So said President Charles De Gaulle, who in 1966 ordered NATO to vacate its Paris headquarters and get out of France.

NATO this year celebrates a major birthday. The young girl of 1966 is no longer young. The alliance is 70 years old.

And under this aging NATO today, the U.S. is committed to treat an attack on any one of 28 nations from Estonia to Montenegro to Romania to Albania as an attack on the United States.

The time is ripe for a strategic review of these war guarantees to fight a nuclear-armed Russia in defense of countries across the length of Europe that few could find on a map.

Apparently, President Donald Trump, on trips to Europe, raised questions as to whether these war guarantees comport with vital U.S. interests and whether they could pass a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

The shock of our establishment that Trump even raised this issue in front of Europeans suggests that the establishment, frozen in the realities of yesterday, ought to be made to justify these sweeping war guarantees.

Celebrated as “the most successful alliance in history,” NATO has had two histories. Some of us can yet recall its beginnings.

In 1948, Soviet troops, occupying eastern Germany all the way to the Elbe and surrounding Berlin, imposed a blockade on the city.

The regime in Prague was overthrown in a Communist coup. Foreign minister Jan Masaryk fell, or was thrown, from a third-story window to his death. In 1949, Stalin exploded an atomic bomb.

As the U.S. Army had gone home after V-E Day, the U.S. formed a new alliance to protect the crucial European powers — West Germany, France, Britain, Italy. Twelve nations agreed that an attack on one would be treated as an attack on them all.

Cross the Elbe and you are at war with us, including the U.S. with its nuclear arsenal, Stalin was, in effect, told. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops returned to Europe to send the message that America was serious.

Crucial to the alliance was the Yalta line dividing Europe agreed to by Stalin, FDR and Churchill at the 1945 Crimean summit on the Black Sea.

U.S. presidents, even when monstrous outrages were committed in Soviet-occupied Europe, did not cross this line into the Soviet sphere.

Truman did not send armored units up the highway to Berlin. He launched an airlift to break the Berlin blockade. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian rebels in 1956. JFK confined his rage at the building of the Berlin Wall to the rhetorical: “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

LBJ did nothing to help the Czechs when, before the Democratic convention in 1968, Leonid Brezhnev sent Warsaw Pact tank armies to crush the Prague Spring.

When the Solidarity movement of Lech Walesa was crushed in Gdansk, Reagan sent copy and printing machines. At the Berlin Wall in 1988, he called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Reagan never threatened to tear it down himself.

But beginning in 1989, the Wall was torn down, Germany was united, the Red Army went home, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the USSR broke apart into 15 nations, and Leninism expired in its birthplace.

As the threat that had led to NATO disappeared, many argued that the alliance created to deal with that threat should be allowed to fade away, and a free and prosperous Europe should now provide for its own defense.

It was not to be. The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

This, said Kennan, would “inflame the nationalistic and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion” and “restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations.” Kennan was proven right.

America is now burdened with the duty to defend Europe from the Atlantic to the Baltic, even as we face a far greater threat in China, with an economy and population 10 times that of Russia.

And we must do this with a defense budget that is not half the share of the federal budget or the GDP that Eisenhower and Kennedy had.

Trump is president today because the American people concluded that our foreign policy elite, with their endless interventions where no vital U.S. interest was imperiled, had bled and virtually bankrupted us, while kicking away all of the fruits of our Cold War victory.

Halfway into Trump’s term, the question is whether he is going to just talk about halting Cold War II with Russia, about demanding that Europe pay for its own defense, and about bringing the troops home — or whether he is going to act upon his convictions.

Our foreign policy establishment is determined to prevent Trump from carrying out his mandate. And if he means to carry out his agenda, he had best get on with it.

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Photos of new Iskander base near Ukrainian border creates media hype

But research into the photos and cross-checking of news reports reveals only the standard anti-Russian narrative that has gone on for years.

Seraphim Hanisch



Fox News obtained satellite photos that claim that Russia has recently installed new Iskander missile batteries, one of them “near” to the Ukrainian border. However, what the Fox article does not say is left for the reader to discover: that in regards to Ukraine, these missiles are probably not that significant, unless the missiles are much longer range than reported:

The intelligence report provided to Fox by Imagesat International showed the new deployment in Krasnodar, 270 miles from the Ukrainian border. In the images is visible what appears to be an Iskander compound, with a few bunkers and another compound of hangars. There is a second new installation that was discovered by satellite photos, but this one is much farther to the east, in the region relatively near to Ulan-Ude, a city relatively close to the Mongolian border.

Both Ukraine and Mongolia are nations that have good relations with the West, but Mongolia has good relations with both its immediate neighbors, Russia and China, and in fact participated with both countries in the massive Vostok-2018 military war-games earlier this year.

Fox News provided these photos of the Iskander emplacement near Krasnodar:

Imagesat International

Fox annotated this photo in this way:

Near the launcher, there is a transloader vehicle which enables quick reloading of the missiles into the launcher. One of the bunker’s door is open, and another reloading vehicle is seen exiting from it.

[Fox:] The Iskander ballistic missile has a range up to 310 miles, and can carry both unconventional as well as nuclear warheads, putting most of America’s NATO allies at risk. The second deployment is near the border with Mongolia, in Ulan-Ude in Sothern Russia, where there are four launchers and another reloading vehicle.

[Fox:] Earlier this week, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said authorities of the former Soviet republic are being “controlled” by the West, warning it stands to lose its independence and identity as a consequence. “The continuation of such policy by the Kiev authorities can contribute to the loss of Ukraine’s statehood,” Mr Patrushev told Rossiyskaya Gazeta, according to Russian news agency TASS.

This situation was placed by Fox in context with the Kerch Strait incident, in which three Ukrainian vessels and twenty-four crew and soldiers were fired upon by Russian coast guard ships as they manuevered in the Kerch Strait without permission from Russian authorities based in Crimea. There are many indications that this incident was a deliberate attempt on the part of Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko, to create a sensational incident, possibly to bolster his flagging re-election campaign. After the incident, the President blustered and set ten provinces in Ukraine under martial law for 30 days, insisting to the world, and especially to the United States, that Russia was “preparing to invade” his country.

Russia expressed no such sentiment in any way, but they are holding the soldiers until the end of January. However, on January 17th, a Moscow court extended the detention of eight of these captured Ukrainian sailors despite protests from Kyiv and Washington.

In addition to the tensions in Ukraine, the other significant point of disagreement between the Russian Federation and the US is the US’ plan to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Russia sees this treaty as extremely important, but the US point of view expressed by John Bolton, National Security Adviser, is that the treaty is useless because it does not include any other parties that have intermediate range nukes or the capability for them, such as Iran, North Korea, and China. This is an unsolved problem, and it is possible that the moves of the Iskander batteries is a subtle warning from the Russians that they really would rather the US stay in the treaty.

Discussions on this matter at public levels between the Russian government and the US have been very difficult because of the fierce anti-Russia and anti-Trump campaigns in the media and political establishments of the United States. President Putin and President Trump have both expressed the desire to meet, but complications like the Kerch Strait Incident conveniently arise, and have repeatedly disrupted the attempts for these two leaders to meet.

Where Fox News appears to get it wrong shows in a few places:

First, the known range for Iskander missiles maxes at about 310 miles. The placement of the battery near Krasnodar is 270 miles from the eastern Ukrainian border, but the eastern part of Ukraine is Russian-friendly and two provinces, Donetsk and Lugansk, are breakaway provinces acting as independent republics. The battery appears to be no threat to Kyiv or to that part of Ukraine which is aligned with the West. Although the missiles could reach into US ally Georgia, Krasnodar is 376 miles from Tbilisi, and so again it seems that there is no significant target for these missiles. (This is assuming the location given is accurate.)

Second, the location shown in the photo is (44,47,29.440N at 39,13,04.754E). The date on the “Krasnodar” photo is January 17, 2019. However, a photo of the region taken July 24, 2018 reveals a different layout. It takes a moment or two to study this, but there is not much of an exact match here:

Third, Fox News reported of “further Russian troops deployment and S-400 Surface to air missile days after the escalation started, hinting Russia might have orchestrated the naval incident.”

It may be true that Russia deployed weapons to this base area in Crimea, but this is now Russian territory. S-400s can be used offensively, but their primary purpose is defensive. Troops on the Crimean Peninsula, especially at this location far to the north of the area, are not in a position strategically to invade Kherson Oblast (a pushback would probably corner such forces on the Crimean peninsula with nowhere to go except the Black Sea). However, this does look like a possible defense installation should Ukraine’s forces try to invade or bomb Crimea.

Fox has this wrong, but it is no great surprise, because the American stance about Ukraine and Russia is similar – Russia can do no right, and Ukraine can do no wrong. Fox News is not monolithic on this point of view, of course, with anchors and journalists such as Tucker Carlson, who seem willing to acknowledge the US propaganda about the region. However, there are a lot of hawks as well. While photos in the articles about the S-400s and the Russian troops are accurately located, it does appear that the one about Iskanders is not, and that the folks behind this original article are guessing that the photos will not be questioned. After all, no one in the US knows where anything is in Russia and Ukraine, anyway, right?

That there is an issue here is likely. But is it appears that there is strong evidence that it is opposite what Fox reported here, it leaves much to be questioned.

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