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Russian Byzantine Catholic Church: caught between the Vatican and Russian Orthodox

Pope Francis is known for reaching out to other churches, even meeting with Patriarch Kirill in Havana on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church. However, there is a smaller Church straddling both the Russian Orthodox and the Vatican: the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church.  As one of the smallest Churches in existence with only 20 parishes in the world, it originally began to heal the schism between Moscow and Rome. This means that Pope Francis is still the head of their Church. They have recently held their first congress in over a century in Italy to address how they can continue to grow, to avoid extinction.  ARCHPRIEST LAWRENCE CROSS Russian Byzantine Church (Australia) "What we're trying to do is revitalize our Russian Orthodox Church because it's been seriously neglected by Rome and the authorities, because it's sometimes been something too hot to handle. It looks as if they're setting up a separate rival Orthodox Church in Russia, which is not what it is. It gets caught between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church.â? Archpriest Lawrence Cross was the organizer of this congress and he says he wants both sides to truly understand who they are. As such, with all clergy of the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church present, goals were created for the future. ARCHPRIEST LAWRENCE CROSS Russian Byzantine Church (Australia) "It's produced some very positive resolutions for a way forward, which we will then be presenting to the interested parties. That is to say the Roman Church, which is our source of unity and authority and to our parent Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, a gift for its freedom and flourishing.â? He insists that his Church exists to serve their parent, the Russian Orthodox Church, but at the same time, Pope Francis is still the head.  The archpriest said that in September 2015, he personally gave a hand-written letter to Pope Francis about their specific Church situation, but has yet to receive a response. He was hoping that Pope Francis would send some sort of greeting during the congress.  ARCHPRIEST LAWRENCE CROSS Russian Byzantine Church (Australia) "We were hoping to get a cheerio message from him, but that didn't come, but I think we can live with that. It doesn't mean that the pope's offside with us or antagonistic or anything like that. To be honest with you, I don't really know what he thinks at this point. It's up to the Holy Father to show us what cards he's holding in his hands.â?   While they wait to see if Pope Francis will respond to them, he said that they are searching for more ways to be of service to the Russian Orthodox Church without offending either of the parties involved and continuing to grow their Church at the same time.  MB MG -SV -PR Up: MB