Movement talking evangelisation with Russian Orthodox

The Moscow Patriarchate says "no final agreement" has been reached with the Neocatechumenate Way over the Catholic movement's proposal at a meeting last week to train Russian Orthodox clergy in evangelisation methods.

Rev Igor Vyzhanov, Moscow Patriarchate secretary for inter-Christian relations was dispelling reports that the Moscow Patriarchate and the Neocatechumenate movement, which sends priests to areas of need around the world, concluded an agreement on training Orthodox clergy, Interfax reports.

The Moscow Patriarchate website had earlier circulated a statement made by the Neocatechumenate leader, Kiko Arguello, in an interview with the Zenit Catholic news agency that an agreement had been concluded for the Neocatechumenate to train Russian Orthodox clergy in evangelisation methods.

The agreement was said to have been reached at a 19 October meeting between the movement leaders and the Department for External Church Relations chairman, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad.

"No final agreement was concluded at the meeting. We treated their proposals with great caution. Neocatechumenate, to my mind, is a very contradictory organisation", Fr Vyzhanov told Interfax.

He also stressed that the position of the Moscow Patriarchate on the results of the meeting was officially stated in the Department's communication press release on 19 October.

According to this press release, Metropolitan Kirill in his talk with Neocatechumenate leaders "pointed to the need for a closer look at each other's spiritual traditions, first of all, to see if the ideas of today's religious movements correspond to the theological tradition of the Orthodox Church".

"Naturally we have made no advances to Neocatechumenate", the Moscow Patriarchate representative added.

However, Kiko Arguello in his interview to Zenit said that according to the agreement allegedly concluded at the meeting with the Moscow Patriarchate delegation, the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church would be taught evangelisation principles in two stages: theoretical study and practical training.

"In Europe, people are abandoning Christ and society is increasingly penetrated by individualism where what is important is the satisfaction of the 'ego,' the delight of our 'I.' Few people come to church, that is why God is preparing a new evangelisation.

"And the Russian Orthodox Church knows that there must be a different way of catechising", the Neocatechumenate leader wrote.

Moscow Patriarchate dispels rumors of agreement with Neo-Catechumenate on evangelization training of Orthodox priests (Interfax, 23/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Neocatechumenal Way website
Russian Orthodox Church
Neocatechumenal Way (Wikipedia)
Russian Orthodox Church in Australia

Pope says lay movements must accept authority (CathNews 1/6/06)
Neocatechumenate Way faces Vatican questions (CathNews 6/6/02)
Pope urges caution on Neocatechumenate Way (CathNews 19/4/01)

25 Oct 2006