Neocatechumenate to Coach Russian Orthodox Priests

Founders Enter Agreement With Moscow Patriarchate

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MOSCOW, OCT. 22, 2006 (Zenit.org).- In agreement with the Russian Orthodox Church, the Neocatechumenal Way will teach its methods of evangelization to Orthodox priests.



Kiko Argüello and Father Mario Pezzi, initiators and leaders of the Neocatechumenal Way, told ZENIT of the plan. They met Thursday with Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, president of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate's Foreign Relations Department.

The agreement reached will be implemented in two stages, Argüello explained: Initially, the Russian Orthodox priests will be taught the Way's principles of evangelization, and then they will be trained.

"We do not intend to engage in proselytism," clarified Father Pezzi. "Metropolitan Kirill and the Orthodox delegation that accompanied him received us very cordially and were aware that we had informed Cardinal Walter Kasper about our visit." Cardinal Kasper is the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The initiative to take the methods and principles of evangelization of the Neocatechumenal Way to the Russian Orthodox Church arose within the Way itself and took several years to develop.

For love

Kiko Argüello said: "During our meeting with Metropolitan Kirill we explained to him that the Way hopes that the people's faith will grow, so that a change will take place in them and they will be able to love. We have come to Russia to show our love.

"In Europe, people are abandoning Christ and society is increasingly penetrated by individualism where what is important is the satisfaction of the 'ego,' the delight of our 'I.' Few people come to church, that is why God is preparing a new evangelization. And the Russian Orthodox Church knows that there must be a different way of catechizing."

During a meeting the leaders had in Moscow's Cathedral on Friday night, Argüello, Father Pezzi and Way co-founder Carmen Hernández thanked some 250 members of the Neocatechumenal communities of Russia and Estonia, who met on the occasion of their visit, for the formation they have given and the support of the groups.