Anyone who knows us and has been following us knows that we've been predicting this for some time.
Neville Kyrke-Smith has visited Eastern Europe for the past 25 years. Now, he believes the end of the schism with the Orthodox is in sight
"The Lefebvrists, the Anglicans... will it be the Orthodox next?" asked one slightly bewildered Catholic priest recently. Pope Benedict XVI is turning out to be ecumenically audacious. For this he has faced criticism, misunderstanding and accusations of insensitivity. But Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church seem now to be making progress in preparing the ground to overcome the Great Schism of 1054.
When I was in Russia late last year the Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, commented on the imperative aim of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to build "a dialogue of truth and charity" with the Orthodox. He emphasised how vital this was and thanked Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) for its work in supporting Catholic, Orthodox and ecumenical projects in Russia:
"We have to encourage the Catholic community to show solidarity to the Orthodox. The initiative of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI is so important. Thank you for all that the charity does for the Church and for building relations with the Orthodox, in line with the will of the Holy Father... and Our Lord!"