Moscow, August 15, Interfax – Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has congratulated Fidel Castro Ruz on his 90th birthday.
“God gave you a long life. Over the past years you have gained valuable experience in public administration, become a great authority in your own country and beyond, having written your name in the chronicles of Cuban and world history,” the patriarch said in a congratulatory message, his press office said.
The people of Russia and Cuba became friends thanks in large part to Castro’s personal contribution, the patriarch said.
“The Russian Orthodox Church is grateful to you for paying attention to the Orthodox Cubans and implementing the project to build a cathedral of the Kazan icon of the Holy Virgin Mary in Havana. I keep good memories of our meetings, of our warm conversation during my visit to the Island of freedom in February this year,” the patriarch said.
During his visit to Cuba in February 2016 the patriarch also held a historical meeting with Pope Francis and performed a liturgy at a Russian church in Havana, whose building site he consecrated in November 2004, then as metropolitan and head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations. And in 2008 he performed a great consecration for the church.
When sharing impressions from his February’s tour of Latin America, the patriarch told journalists that both Fidel Castro and his brother Raul were raised at a Jesuit college and the source of their proposed reforms was Christian.
“Then it was completely amazing how he agreed to building of a church, how he suggested that I choose the location, and I chose the center of Havana, how he replied to my suggestion that it would be good to perform a liturgy and then have a religious procession to the groundbreaking site, that was in 2004, by saying: yes, go ahead, we have a Franciscan monastery, which is a museum actually, no one performs religious services there but you will,” Patriarch Kirill recalled.
Thousands of people took part in the religious procession of a scale not seen in Havana since the revolution, and the Cubans then built that church with their own money.
Castro’s Cuba is an “Island of Freedom”? Tell that to the political prisoners in Cuban jails. Praising this dictator must come naturally to this Putin supporter who is happy to use the church to promote Russian nationalism and irredentist aspirations to re-subjugate the liberated “satellites” of the former Soviet Empire. This the same Patriarch who insisted that the Holy and Great Council be moved from Turkey to Crete, only to boycott the meeting because he didn’t like the shape of the table. But, lest we forget, it is good to remember that Patriarch Bartholomew also travelled to this “Island of Freedom” for his collection of photo-ops. The example of Orthodox dis-unity displayed by the heads of the autocephalous churches occupying the territory of the long-gone Roman Empire at the stillborn “Great” Council of Crete, proves once-and-for-all that they lack both the will and the ability to allow their “colonies” in the US and elsewhere to unite as single local churches that are in proper “canonical” order. A generation ago Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory predicted that: “There will either be ONE Orthodox Church in the US, or there will be NONE.” It is up to the Orthodox bishops, clergy and laity in the US to decide which of these outcomes will come about.
If the US Assembly of Bishops cannot stop looking over their shoulders for instructions from Istanbul, Moscow, Antioch, Belgrade, Sofia and Bucharest instead of looking forward by declaring themselves to be a single Synod of canonical bishops that elects its own head – an autocephalous Orthodox Church of America, the downward spiral of Orthodoxy in America will become irreversible and Archbishop Iakovos’s prediction will come true.
This is just ANOTHER view of the ROC – that is, they tow the line of Putin and everything in the ROC goes through the Kremlin.
George, congratulations for having the CORRECT view of Orthodoxy in America!
In 1961, SCOBA agreed to work toward an autocephalous church that would be called, “The Orthodox Church in America.” Their theological adviser by consensus was Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary. In 1970, Fr. Alexander made this a reality having the former Metropolia, which had its origins as the first Orthodox Church in North America, being granted autocephaly by its mother church, the ROC. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT SCOBA WANTED WHERE BOTH ARCHBP IAKOVOS AND MET. PHILIP LED THE CHARGE. The Albanians joined the OCA; the Romanians joined the OCA; the Albanians joined the OCA and others. Both + Iakovos & + Philip RENEGED for different reasons. And thus, 46 years later, Orthodoxy in America is still fragmented. The way forward was shown and the bishops themselves destroyed it. NOW, + Bart wants unity ONLY UNDER HIMSELF with the entire American Church under himself. The Ass. of Bishops are not aiding in Orthodox Unity in America. There is NO DIASPORA; there is NO DIPTYCHS IN CHURCH ORGANIZATION; what there “IS,” is an existing canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church in America prescribed by SCOBA in 1961. Stop your ridiculous “Tea Parties” and have some REAL effect on Orthodoxy in America – join the OCA as Orthodox Canon Law dictates. + Bart IS JUST WRONG!
I strongly agree with Peter. I’m a cradle Orthodox Christian, 87 years of age, born in the good old USA. It’s time to quit pussy footing around and have an autocephalous Orthodox Church here in America.
Mr. Vovos: With all due respect, we indeed DO have an autocephalous Orthodox Church here in America. It’s called the Orthodox Church of America and it has been here since 1970.
Patriarch Kirill: Fidel Castro lead a Communist revolution in Cuba and sustained it for many decades. (Communist premise: “Religion is the opiate of the people”) A history book printed outside of Putin’s Russia would be a very useful resource to prevent the Patriarch from making such embarrassing statements in the future.