Christendom, arise!

Normally, I couldn't care less what the so-called "Pope" Francis is up to on any given day; as I've pointed out before, his understanding of the theology of which he is supposedly the arbiter and shepherd is considerably worse than my own.

But the news that the Holy Father might actually meet with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is some of the best news that Christendom has heard in quite some time:
An historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church is "getting closer every day," a senior Orthodox prelate said in an interview published on Sunday.
The unprecedented meeting would be a significant step towards healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, which split in the Great Schism of 1054. 
"Now such a meeting is getting closer every day but it must be well prepared," Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church's foreign relations department, said in an interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper. 
He said the meeting between the head of the 1.2 billion member Roman Catholic Church and the head of Russian Orthodox Church - which counts some 165 million of the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians - would take place in a "neutral" country, not in Moscow or the Vatican. Austria or Hungary were possibilities, he said. 
Hilarion, one of the most influential people in world Orthodoxy, said he could not say if the meeting could take place as early as this year, but there was currently "a good dynamic" between the two Churches.
Francis told reporters on the plane returning from a trip to Turkey last year that he had sent word to Kirill that he was willing to meet the Russian patriarch "wherever you want, you call me and I'll come".
The Great Schism of 1054 was one of the worst things that has ever happened to Christendom. Granted, it was the culmination of centuries worth of disagreements over doctrine and Scriptural interpretation. But it was this evennt that dramatically weakened the unity and power of Christendom- and at the worst possible time.

The bans and anathemas of 1054 were instituted in a time of Islamic expansion from the south and east. Three hundred years before, Charles "The Hammer" Martel had stopped the first great wave of Islamic expansion cold and dead at Tours, but the depredations of Seljuk Turks upon Christian and Jewish pilgrims to the Holy Land were to continue until the first Crusade was announced by Pope Urban II.

That Crusade failed. Contrary to what most of you have been taught in school- don't worry, I was taught the same nonsense- the Crusades were not an act of wanton and unprovoked aggression against a peace-loving Muslim kingdom, and the Crusaders were not bloodthirsty barbarians in search of treasure and gold. The Crusades were, in fact, strictly limited wars of self-defence in retaliation for decades of Seljuk provocation.

The First Crusade, and the next several after it, failed because the various kingdoms of Christendom were split asunder, incapable of uniting except under the gravest of threats. The Crusaders were even, at one point, stupid enough during the Fourth Crusade to attack, occupy, and sack Byzantium herself.

The reunification of the various Christian churches may not happen in my lifetime. It will certainly not happen while Jorge Bergoglio is the Pontiff of the one and only Holy Mother Church.

Yet one can dream. To see Christianity- true Christianity- strong, united, and awakened once more, would be a great gift indeed, even for a mere heathen like me. If we are to have any hope of turning back the tide of darkness that is coming, we will need every last resource that God can give us. Through the Church, He gave us the armour of faith and the weapons of righteousness, courage, and truth.

We have, in our folly, forgotten these things. But it is not too late to remember them. And it is certainly not too late to see the various offshoots of the Christian faith reunited once more. Into the hands of such a miracle, we must place the fate of an afflicted Mankind.


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