Russian Orthodox Church speaks on social issues, ecumenism

The church's Council of Bishops released two important documents yesterday. One is the church's first "social doctrine," summarized by The New York Times as one "that condemns genetic engineering, homosexuality, euthanasia and abortion, approves of the concept of private property and reconfirms the church's close relationship with the military." The other document outlines the church's relationship with other Christian bodies. Carefully denouncing the concept of an "invisible church" of all believers in Jesus, the document makes absolutely clear that the Orthodox Church is the only true bride of Christ. It also criticizes "destructive missionary activity," and accuses missionaries of bribing Russians away from Orthodoxy. But the church's document also says Orthodox Christians should cooperate with other churches on social matters and work toward unity. Igor Kowalewski, chancellor of the Roman Catholic Curia in Moscow, tells The Moscow Times that the decisions are as momentous as his church's Vatican II Council. "I was particularly pleased by the spirit of mutual dialogue and by acceptance of a measure of grace in non-Orthodox Churches," he says. The deputy chairman of the Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists expressed similar delight in the document. (The documents have been posted on the Russian Orthodox Church's official Web site, but apparently not yet in English.)

Canada's deputy prime minister to meet with Anglican Church of Canada leader

"The churches want the government to implement a program for validating and compensating claims out of court, rather than letting each case drag through the legal system," explains The National Post. "Federal leaders have ...

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