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Meeting of the Working Group for the Russian Orthodox Church’s Cooperation with the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland

Meeting of the Working Group for the Russian Orthodox Church’s Cooperation with the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland
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29 January 2022 year 20:19

On January 28, 2022, the Working Group for the Russian Orthodox Church’s Cooperation with the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland met for its regular session in St. Petersburg.

The Working Group was established by the Decision of the Holy Synod of October 6, 2017.

The meeting took place at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy in the hybrid format in person and online. It was co-chaired by Bishop Siluan of Petergof, rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, and Bishop Dr Seppo Hӓkkinen of the diocese of Mikkeli of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland.

Members of the Working Group from the Russian Orthodox Church are Hieromonk Stephan (Igumnov), secretary for inter-Christians relations, Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate; Archpriest Vladimir Khulap, pro-rector for training, St. Petersburg Theological Academy and Seminary, Archpriest Dimitry Yurevich, head of the Chair of Bible Studies, St. Petersburg Theological Academy; and Ms. Yelena Speranskaya, DECR adviser, lecturer at the Moscow Theological Academy.

The Evangelical-Lutheran Church was represented, along with Bishop Seppo Hӓkkinen by Rev. Kimmo Kääriäinen, director of the Department for External Church Relations; Rev. Dr Juha Meriläinen; Rev. Tommi Karttunen, DECR secretary, Rev. Timo Rosqvist, secretary of the Diocese of Mikkeli.

In the beginning of the meeting, the participants honoured the memory of Metropolitan Vladimir (Kotlyarov) who died on January 19, 2022. He used to head delegations of the Russian Orthodox Church at the Sinappi Theological Conversations between the Russian Church and the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland.

Greetings were exchanged by Bishop Siluan and Bishop Seppo Hӓkkinen. Then the sides traditionally exchanged reports about significant events that have taken place in the two Churches since the previous meeting of the Working Group. His Eminence Siluan spoke about the life and service of the Russian Orthodox Church during the coronavirus pandemic. A report on the same topic was made by Bishop Seppo Hӓkkinen. In addition, he recounted the appointment of new bishops and spoke about an important initiative of his Church to publish “bishops’ messages” twice a year on significant ecclesial and social matters.

Hieromonk Stephan spoke about events in the Orthodox world, including the ecclesial situation around Ukraine and the formation of a Patriarchal Exarchate in Africa, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church’s contacts with the Roman Catholic Church and Oriental Churches.

Ms Speranskaya made a survey of the Russian Church’s contacts with Protestant denominations.

Then the participants discussed issues involved in the preparations of the 16th session of the renewed Sinappi theological dialogue, which has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and matters concerning the bilateral relations.

After the meeting, the Working Group members, who were in St. Petersburg, visited the St. Nicholas Cemetery of the St. Alexander Nevsky Laura to put flowers on the grave of Metropolitan Vladimir (Kotlyarov) of eternal memory.

DECR Communication Service/Patriarchia.ru

Version: Russian