A women's problem

In the dispute between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Evangelical Church in Germany, the fronts remain hardened. The head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Church Foreign Office, Archbishop Hilarion, reiterated in an interview with the Hamburg news magazine Der Spiegel published in advance on Saturday that his church rejects Margot Kabmann, who was elected EKD Council chairwoman in late October, as a contact person. "The patriarch cannot meet with any female bishops," Hilarion said.

"Women cannot succeed the apostles," archbishop explained his church's position. Moreover, according to the Orthodox view, the Protestant churches are not really churches, but merely communities of Christians. "They justify homosexuality from the theological point of view, even bless marriages between homosexuals. 'Some think abortion is not a sin,' criticized Hilarion, according to Patriarch Cyril I. Second most powerful man in Russian Orthodox church hierarchy.Hilarion, however, ared that he would seek new forms of cooperation with the EKD. "I am willing to meet with leaders of the evangelical church to discuss the future form of cooperation," the archbishop said. As his counterpart on the side of the EKD Hilarion considers, according to his own words, foreign bishop Martin Schindehutte.However, the German side insists that the Russian Orthodox recognize that in the churches of the Reformation women and lay people hold church-leading positions: "In this respect, there can be no official contacts to the EKD bypassing the council chairwoman," Kabmann had recently explained in an epd interview.Archbishop Hilarion finds words of appreciation for Pope Benedict XVI in "Spiegel" interview. and whose advocacy of "traditional Christian values". The Russian Orthodox Church wants a breakthrough in relations with the Catholic Church: "We are allies and face the same challenge, an aggressive secularism," said Hilarion. A meeting of Russian Church leader Cyril I. with the pope, which has been speculated about for years, is quite possible and desirable. The prerequisite is that Catholics and Orthodox no longer steal believers from each other.

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