Economist, 25.08.2017:

Tikhon recalled the saying of a revered Russian bishop of the early 20th century that “Catholics are not even a church and as a result not even Christian.” The very fact that both President Putin and Patriarch Kirill used the word “church” this week when referring to Roman Catholicism will doubtless upset some purists.

Russia’s leadership are pulled in two different directions regarding relations with Rome. On the one hand, it is expedient for Russia to have a more or less friendly diplomatic interlocutor in the Western world at a time when it is under sanction from just about every other Western authority. On the other hand, upholding the doctrinal purity of eastern Christianity against all comers (in practice, against the Catholics) has been one the country’s raisons d’être since the 16th century, at least in the eyes of Russian nationalists.

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