Three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, Catholics constitute a very small religious minority in Russia. The majority of the population is affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church.
Pope Francis asked Catholics in Russia to share in solidarity and take steps toward unity with Eastern Orthodox Christians.
“In the context of the Eastern Christian tradition in which you live, it is important to continue walking together with all your Christian brothers and sisters, without getting tired of asking the Lord’s help to deepen mutual knowledge and advance, step by step, on the path of unity,” the pope said.
“By praying for all and by serving those with whom we share the same humanity, which Jesus has united to himself in an inseparable way, we will rediscover ourselves as brothers and sisters in a common pilgrimage towards the goal of communion, which God indicates to us in every Eucharistic celebration.”
The pope’s message, signed Sept. 16, was released Oct. 10, the Sunday following Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev’s visit to the Vatican.
The Russian Orthodox Metropolitan of Volokolamsk participated in an interreligious gathering Oct. 4 at the Vatican to issue a joint appeal calling for “net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible.”
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