1 hour program by Elisabetta Valgiusti
The program illustrates the life and the commitment of the Catholic Church in Russia today.
During the late 1930s, persecution led to almost complete destruction of the Catholic Church. In 1917, about 2 million Catholics lived in Russia, with 900 priests and monks; by 1935 there were no more than a dozen left. During the 90’s, there was an effort to re-establish the Catholic presence and re-open Churches and seminaries. But there were difficulties with the authorities and problems of relationship with the Orthodoxs.
In the last few years, things seem to be changing. After Patriarch Kirill’s election, the Orthodox Church looks for better relationships with the Roman Church and started offering homage and special gifts to the Pope. On July 2010, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, former Pope’s representative to the Russian Federation, has been nominated the Holy See’s first apostolic nuncio to the country. In the meantime, Patriarch Kirill keeps praising the Pope and declared: “….on many public and moral issues his approach fully coincides with the approach of the Russian Orthodox Church. This gives us an opportunity to advocate Christian values together with the Catholic Church…”
Archbishop of Moscow, Paolo Pezzi, also declared: “Catholicism’s presence helps to understand that in reality doctrinal unity between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church already exists: What unites us is infinitely more than what divides us. This is true for the individual Christian and for the entire church, as the unity of Christians is the greatest testimony to the truth of Christ.”
The program reports about the situation and the needs for the future of the Catholic churches and communities in Russia. The program investigates today possibilities of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Main locations: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rome.