A new spiritual and harmonious resurrection has occurred in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It actually began to flourish a few months ago, but it was solidified and brought to completion this week with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's visit and dialogue with Russian Patriarch Kirill in Moscow.
Until a year ago or so, there was much friction between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. This included the anger of of the Russian Patriarchate when Estonia was granted permission by the Patriarch of Constantinople to leave Russia's jurisdiction , and to come directly under the jurisdiction of Constantinople.
Another example of friction dealt with meetings of Orthodox hierarchs with the Patriarch of Constantinople, who is considered to be "the first among equals" in his relationship with other Orthodox Patriarchs. Russian hierarchs had become so infuriated by the power and pompousness displayed by the Patriarch of Constantinople that they actually refused to attend such meetings. Moreover, they described the Patriarch of Constantinople as "the Eastern Pope," and referred to Moscow as "the third Rome."
So much for past friction. These differences have now been resolved, since both the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Patriarch of Russia have become more humble in recent months. Humility -- Jesus' favorite attribute -- can indeed be a powerful force in resolving serious differences.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev -- upon welcoming Patriarch Bartholomew to Moscow -- said, "Your visit will help strengthen the dialogue which links the two churches."
In fact, this harmonious dialogue that occurred between Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Kirill will have a significant impact on all Orthodox Christians for many years. Patriarch Bartholomew is the spiritual leader of more than 300 million Orthodox Christians, more than half of whom are of Russian ancestry.