Per Zenit, the Russian government has refused to renew the permit for the construction of a Catholic church in Pskov. Notice in the article that construction of the church has been going on for about a decade. Note also that the reason they had to build a church in the first place is because the cathedral there has been stolen and not returned.
Yet when I asked him whether the L’viv Sobor (Council) of 1946—which forcibly reincorporated the Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine into Russian Orthodoxy, turning the Greek Catholics into the world’s largest illegal religious body—was a “theologically legitimate ecclesial act,” Hilarion unhesitatingly responded “Yes.” I then noted that serious historians describe the L’viv Sobor as an act of the Stalinist state, carried out by the NKVD (predecessor to the KGB); Hilarion responded that the “modalities” of history are always complicated. In any event, he continued, it was always legitimate for straying members of the Russian Orthodox flock (as he regarded the Ukrainian Greek Catholics) to return to their true home (i.e., Russian Orthodoxy).
Throughout the meeting, Hilarion smoothly but unmistakably tried to drive a wedge between Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II (whom two patriarchs of Moscow, both KGB-connected, refused to invite to Russia). He also suggested that Benedict’s calls for a “new evangelization” in Europe, including a recovery of classic Christian morality, could be addressed by joint Catholic-Russian Orthodoxy initiatives. Yet, in what seemed a strange lack of reciprocity, Hilarion also spoke as if the entirety of the former “Soviet space” is the exclusive ecclesial turf of the Russian Orthodox patriarchate of Moscow.