Hilarion Alfeyev on Music and Unity

It’s no secret I am an unabashed fan of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev and of his writings and his music, which I’ve linked to several times over the years.

Joseph Susanka — who is a pretty busy guy, what with six kids, a job and his weekly column here at Patheos — managed to snag an interview with the bishop, and treats us to a fascinating exchange on music, liturgy and Christian Unity. Here is a little bit:

. . .today a different problem is acquiring primary importance – the problem of the unity of Orthodox and Catholics in the cause of defending traditional Christianity. To our great regret, a significant part of Protestant confessions by the beginning of the 21st century has adopted the liberal values of the modern world and in essence has renounced fidelity to Biblical principles in the realm of morality. Today in the West, the Roman Catholic Church remains the main bulwark in the defence of traditional moral values – such, for example, as marital fidelity, the inadmissibility of artificially ending human life, the possibility of marital union as a union only between man and woman.

Therefore, when we speak of dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, I believe that the priority in this dialogue today should not be the question of the filioque or the primacy of the Pope. We should learn to interact in that capacity that we find ourselves in today – in a state of division and absence of Eucharistic communion. We ought to learn how to perceive each other not as rivals but as allies by understanding that we have a common missionary field and encounter common challenges. We are faced with the common task of defending traditional Christian values, and joint efforts are essential today not out of certain theological considerations but primarily because we ought to help our nations to survive…

Because it is brief but far-reaching, the interview is difficult to excerpt, but I urge you to read it all. Hilarion’s accessibility is, for me, similar to Pope Benedict XVI’s.

A bit of Hilarion’s St. Matthew’s Passion:

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