CWN - Speaking on September 16 at a meeting of a joint Catholic-Orthodox theological commission, the chief ecumenical officer of the Russian Orthodox Church said that the activity of the "Uniates"-- the Eastern churches in communion with Rome-- is the greatest obstacle to greater unity between Catholics and Orthodox.
The statement by Metropolitan Hilarion was a familiar complaint from the Moscow patriarchate, which has frequently criticized the Eastern-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church, accusing that body of fueling tensions in Ukraine. The Russian Orthodox Chuch regards Ukraine as its "canonical territory"-- a claim that the Holy See does not accept.
Despite his criticism of Eastern Catholic churches, the Moscow representative did not demand an immediate discussion of their status. This week's meeting of the joint Catholic-Orthodox commission is dedicated instead to the questions of synodal governance and primacy, and their contributions of ecumenical unity. A draft statement on that issue has been submitted for discussion and approval.