Vatican Gives Church to Russian President

Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev


In an interesting move to attempt to promote unity between the Russian Orthodox and the Catholics of Rome, the Vatican gave a church in Italy back to the President of Russia:

Pope hopes return of Russian Orthodox church in Italy helps ecumenism
CNS – March 2, 2009
BARI, Italy (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has expressed support for the return of a historic Southern Italian church to its former Russian Orthodox owners.

At a ceremony March 1, the little Church of St. Nicholas in Bari was formally handed over to the Russian Orthodox. Built by Czar Nicholas II, the church became the property of the Italian government after Russia’s 1917 revolution.

As Italian President Giorgio Napolitano passed the church keys to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a papal representative said the pope hoped Bari, a seaport on the Adriatic, would continue to be a city of peaceful encounters between the Orthodox and Catholic faithful.

Since 1087, the tomb of St. Nicholas of Myra — one of Russia’s patron saints — has been housed in the Catholic Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari. Czar Nicholas had a Russian Orthodox church built near the basilica to provide services to Russians who traveled to Bari on pilgrimage.

Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, the retired archbishop of Palermo who was Pope Benedict’s representative at the ceremony March 1, told the politicians and faithful present that the little Russian church “reawakens in us the yearning for full unity” between Catholics and Orthodox and encourages both to work more seriously to unite all who believe in Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI is determined to attempt to get the Orthodox to become more accepting on the authority of Rome.  This latest step may slightly thaw out the rather chilled relationship between the Russian Orthodox and the Vatican.

I have long warned against the Orthodox accepting the authority of Rome (see Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics), but Vatican sees itself as having to get them back in full alignment.  An alignment that both the Bible and even various Catholic writers have warned about.

Perhaps I should mention that a Roman Catholic priest has warned that this unity will be at the cost of Catholics compromising with the Orthodox (and the Protestants) and that this will happen under the reign of an antipope (who may be the Anti-Christ, see Some Doctrines of Antichrist):

Priest Paul Kramer:  “The errors of Orthodoxy and of Protestantism will be embraced by that false church, it will be an ecumenical church because the Anti-Pope will be recognized by the world — not by the faithful, but by the world — by the secular world and the secular governments. The Anti-Pope will be recognized as the legitimate Pope of the “church,” and the legitimate head of the Vatican State. That “church” will be united with all the false religions…In that motley ecumenical union will be the established religion of the so-called civilized world. This is how we will get into the time of great persecution such as the world has never seen. (Kramer P. The Imminent Chastisement for Not Fulfilling Our Lady’s Request. An edited transcript of a speech given at the Ambassadors of Jesus and Mary Seminar in Glendale, California, September 24, 2004.THE FATIMA CRUSADER Issue 80, Summer 2005, pp. 32-45 viewed 4/15/08).

The Orthodox and the Catholics each individually need to reject this unity that the Vatican seems determined to make happen soon.  Both the Bible and various writings have warned against it.

Some articles of related interest may include:

Russia: Its Origins and Prophesied Future Where do the Russians come from? What is prophesied for Russia? What will it do to the Europeans that supported the Beast in the end?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Living Church of God Both groups claim to represent the original Christian faith. Do you know much about them? Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics The Bible warns the Orthodox against this unity as do some Catholic prophecies.  The Orthodox need to heed these warnings now.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Living Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view?  Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches?  Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!

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