Holy See and Russian Orthodox Church Meet to Discuss Second Vatican Council

Holy See and Russian Orthodox Church Meet to Discuss Second Vatican Council

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Metz Accord: A meeting is held on the outskirts of Metz, France, between representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Holy See. The purpose is to negotiate the conditions for Russian Orthodox participation as official observers at the coming Second Vatican Council.

Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad and Minsk says that he would like to participate, but only on two conditions. First, atheistic communism must not be condemned during conciliar assemblies; and second, any official condemnations of communism only occur after Russian Orthodox representatives have left entirely.

The conditions aren't set down because of any great love which the Russian Orthodox Church has for communism, but rather to prevent any embarrassments for Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who is currently instituting reforms and de-Stalinization.

Representatives of the Holy See accept the conditions, paving the way for the Russian Orthodox representatives to come to Rome. In fact, the Holy See seems to go a bit further than the conditions require because the Vatican is largely silent on communism for the next twenty years. Only with the election of Pope John Paul II does the Vatican begin once again to issue strongly-worded condemnations of communist governments and the communist system.

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