Friday, August 1, 2008

Moscow Patriarchate laments over Anglican decision to install women bishops

Moscow, August 1, Interfax -

"The Russian Orthodox Church has to state with regret that the decision to install women bishops impedes the dialogue between Orthodox Christians and Anglicans developed for some decades," Communication service of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations' Communication Service says in its special statement spread in Moscow on Friday.

According to the document, this decision "alienates Anglicans from the Orthodox Church and contributes in further division of the Christian world."

The Moscow Patriarchate reminds the Orthodox Church has always been negative about women priests since some Protestant and Anglican Churches started to ordain them late in the 20th century.

"Such practice contradicts centuries-old Church tradition dating back to the first Christian community. Orthodox Christians consider women bishops even more unacceptable," the statement further says.

Christian tradition, the authors stress, has always considered bishops as "direct spiritual successors of apostles, who grant them a special blessing to lead God's people and a special responsibility to keep the purity of faith and be symbols and guarantors of Church unity."

Thus, the Moscow Patriarchate believes installing women-bishops contradicts "the course of Savior, holy apostles and ancient undivided Church."

In conviction that revision of the original church norms contradicts the Lord's idea on priestly ministry, the Moscow Patriarchate states "it is not a theological or practical church need that dictated this decision to the Anglican General Synod, but rather its strive to keep step with secular idea of sexual equality in all spheres of life."

The Russian Church reminds, "Secularization of Christianity makes many believers to abandon it as they strive to find spiritual support in secure Gospels and apostolic traditions introduced by Eternal and Unchangeable God."

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