Pope Francis waves as he leads his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican June 28, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

(P1) An historic meeting between Pope Francis and PATRIARCH Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church is “getting closer every day,” a senior Orthodox PRELATE said in an interview published on Sunday.

(P2) The UNPRECEDENTED meeting would be a SIGNIFICANT step towards HEALING the 1,000-year-old RIFT between the Western and Eastern BRANCHES of Christianity, which SPLIT in the GREAT SCHISM of 1054. The Russian Orthodox Church is the largest of the APPROXIMATELY 20 Eastern Orthodox Churches, all of which are in FULL COMMUNION with each other.

(P3) “Now such a meeting is getting closer every day but it must be well prepared,” Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s foreign relations department, said in an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.

(P4) He said the meeting between the head of the 1.2 billion member Roman Catholic Church and the head of Russian Orthodox Church – which counts some 165 million of the world’s 250 million Eastern Orthodox Christians – would take place in a “NEUTRAL” country, not in Moscow or the Vatican. Austria or Hungary were possibilities, he said.

(P5) Hilarion, one of the most INFLUENTIAL people in Eastern Orthodoxy, said he could not say if the meeting could take place as early as this year, but there was CURRENTLY “a good DYNAMIC” between the two Churches.

(P6) Francis told reporters on the plane returning from a trip to Turkey last year that he had sent word to Kirill that he was WILLING to meet the Russian patriarch “wherever you want, you call me and I’ll come”.

(P7) The Russian Orthodox Church has ACCUSED Catholics of using their new freedoms of religion following the BREAK-UP of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s to try to CONVERT people from the Orthodox Church, a CHARGE the Vatican has DENIED.

(P8) One of the biggest BONES OF CONTENTION is the FATE of many church properties that Soviet DICTATOR Josef Stalin CONFISCATED from Eastern Rite Catholics, who WORSHIP in an Orthodox RITE but OWE their ALLEGIANCE to Rome.

(P9) Stalin gave the property to the Russian Orthodox Church but after the fall of communism, Eastern Rite Catholics took back many church properties, mostly in western Ukraine.

WORDS: 360

SOURCE: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/28/us-pope-orthodox-idUSKCN0P80KU20150628


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. The article INDICATES that Russia has many Russian Orthodox churches and many Eastern Rite Roman Catholic churches. What are the most popular religions in your country?
  3. Do you consider yourself a religious person?
  4. There are many different branches of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc., instead of just one in each case. Why is this true?
  5. If the Pope and the Patriarch do meet, what would be positive RESULTS of the meeting?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Break-up
  • Bone of contention



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s