Healing the Great Wound

Steven LeBlanc

03 10 2016

Pope Francis met with Patriarch Kirill in the first-ever papal meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. The meeting took place at Havana’s airport in February. The pair embraced and kissed each other at the start of their talks. At a news conference after the meeting, Kirill said the discussions were “open” and “brotherly”, while Francis described them as “very sincere”. “We hope our meeting contributes to the re-establishment of this unity wished for by God,” their joint declaration said. Below is a brief history of the great division between Catholic Church and its Eastern Orthodox neighbors–

Key dates (BBC):
1054 – Mutual excommunications by Western Church leader in Rome, Pope Leo IX, and Eastern Church leader in Constantinople, Patriarch Cerularius, lead to Great Schism
1274 and 1439 – Attempts to re-unite the two Churches at Councils of Lyon and Florence fail
1997 – Planned meeting between Pope John Paul II and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II cancelled
2016– Pope Francis met with Patriarch Kirill in the first-ever papal meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church

The heads of the Roman Catholic and the Russian Orthodox churches haven’t spoken since the Great Schism of 1054 divided “Christian” Europe. The meeting took the traditional Christian world by surprise: Francis, 79, leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Roman Catholics, stood with Kirill, 69, leader of the largest church in the Eastern Orthodox world, with an estimated 151 million followers. But it was also about geopolitics, which includes the maneuverings of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — who is closely aligned with the conservative Russian church. The two church leaders provided this joint declaration regarding the Church and Europe:

The process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was welcomed by many with hope, as a guarantee of peace and security. Nonetheless, we invite vigilance against an integration that is devoid of respect for religious identities. While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.

The Vatican had tried for decades to meet with Russian patriarchs, pressing their efforts after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. But Orthodox leaders accused Catholics of trying to intrude on their home ground by planting new churches in Russia and former Soviet satellite countries, something Orthodox Russians are very sensitive to. Pope Francis has been criticized because his embrace of the Russian patriarch gave a boost to Mr. Putin as he wages a war in Syria and continues to press his agenda in Ukraine.

A dangerous yet subtle crusade is hard at work in Europe. I choose to call it the ONE CHURCH MOVEMENT. The Catholic Church is seeking to unite the churches (Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Lutheran, Episcopalians, Charismatics, Methodists, Baptists and Methodists. We believe, in the near future, that the Catholic Church is this end time counterfeit Church, which will dominate Europe, eventually playing a very big role in world politics.

This end-time counterfeit Church (Catholic) must be of enormous size and wealth that give her great power and influence. The Catholic Church is described as influencing many millions of peoples and nations, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15). No church in history other than the Catholic Church comes close to fitting this description. Worldwide Church unity, under Catholic leadership, is the primary goal of the Catholic Church—we are not there yet but it will come soon!

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