Hos Zenit kan vi lese om møtet mellom pave Benedikt og den russisk-ortodokse erkebiskopen Hilarion Alfeyev. Katolsk.no skrev også om dette møtet i forkant, og det virker nesten som forhåpningene på forhånd og rapporetene nå i etterkant er litt for optimistiske – «Katolsk – ortodoks enhet nær?» er det blitt skrevet.
On Sept. 18, inside Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer palace about 30 miles outside Rome, a Russian Orthodox Archbishop named Hilarion Alfeyev, 43 (a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy, composer and lover of music), met with Benedict XVI, 82 (also a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy and lover of music), for almost two hours, according to informed sources. (There are as yet no «official» sources about this meeting — the Holy See has still not released an official communiqué about the meeting.)
The silence suggests that what transpired was important — perhaps so important that the Holy See thinks it isn’t yet prudent to reveal publicly what was discussed. But there are numerous «signs» that the meeting was remarkably harmonious. If so, this Sept. 18 meeting may have marked a turning point in relations between the «Third Rome» (Moscow) and the «First Rome» (Rome) — divided since 1054.
Archbishop Hilarion was in Rome for five days last week as the representative of the new Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.
One key person Archbishop Hilarion met with was Cardinal Walter Kasper. On Sept. 17, the cardinal told Vatican Radio that he and Archbishop Hilarion had a «very calm conversation.»
Cardinal Kasper also revealed something astonishing: that he had suggested to the archbishop that the Orthodox Churches form some kind of «bishops’ conference at the European level» that would constitute a «direct partner of cooperation» in future meetings.