05 March 2008, 13:46
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin offers to refuse joint prayers with non-Orthodox

Moscow, March 5, Interfax - Deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate
Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin

considers it possible for Orthodox believers to pray before common
Christian shrines, but advises to refuse joint prayers with Christian
of other confessions.

"Orthodox people visiting Catholic or Protestant churches, their
presence at non-Orthodox service without explicit or inner prayer,
Orthodox prayer before common Orthodox shrines - all these things are
allowed. While it's better to refuse joint Orthodox and non-Orthodox
public or private prayers," Fr. Vsevolod said in his interview to the
NG-Religii newspaper.

In further talk with an Interfax-Religion correspondent the priest
specified that "it's his private opinion."

Commenting on the results of the recent Geneva session of the World
Council of Churches, Fr. Vsevolod confessed that neither he nor other
Russian Orthodox delegates participated in non-Orthodox prayers any more.

The priest pointed out that joint prayers were practiced in 1960-1990
when Orthodox hoped it would help unite Christians through coming
back to the faith of ancient Church.

"Today no one considers the soon unity seriously, almost all Russian
Church doesn't approve of such prayers and I think the church
decision is impending," the Moscow Patriarchate's representative believes.

According to him, "the WCC was established to unite Christians, but
the unity moves away and even grey ecumenical enthusiasts realize
it", though the Russian Orthodox Church "hardly should leave the
forum where it can effectively discuss" economic globalization,
ecological crisis, worldwide conflicts, social role of religion, etc.