Thursday, June 12, 2008

Romanian Orthodox prelate threatened with excommunication for sharing Communion

Bucharest, Jun. 11, 2008 ( - The Orthodox prelate who shared Communion with Catholics at an Eastern-rite liturgical service in May now could face excommunication from the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Orthodox Metropolitan Nicolae Corneanu of Banat joined Romanian Catholic Bishop Alexandru Mesian of Lugoj at the altar on May 25, sharing the Eucharist with the Catholic prelate. His action outraged some Orthodox believers, and the Romanian Orthodox synod announced that Metropolitan Corneanu "may be asked to give an appropriate explanation" at a synod meeting in July.

Now another Romanian Orthodox leader, Metropolitan Bartolomeu of Cluj, has introduced a move to excommunicate Metropolitan Corneanu. That proposal will be discussed at the orthodox Synod meeting in early July.

The move to excommunicate Metropolitan Corneanu has inflamed new hostility toward Catholics-- and especially Eastern-rite Romanian Catholics-- among Orthodox hard-liners who regard any association with Catholics as suspicious. Critics have also raised heresy charges against the Orthodox Bishop Sofronie of Oradea, who participated in an ecumenical blessing-of-the-water service in January, on the feast of the Baptism of Christ, with his Romanian Catholic counterpart.

Metropolitan Corneanu has said that he does not regret joining Catholic bishops in the Divine Liturgy. But the Orthodox prelate has rejected the idea that he is likely to become a Catholic, saying that he is loyal to the Orthodox Church and will accept the consequences of his actions.

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