According to a Catholic Archbishop in Moscow, Catholic-Orthodox Unity could be achieved “within a few months”:
In an interview today in Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, Archbishop Paolo Pezzi said the miracle of reunification “is possible, indeed it has never been so close.” The archbishop added that Catholic-Orthodox reunification, the end of the historic schism that has divided them for a millennium, and spiritual communion between the two churches “could happen soon, within a few months.”
“Basically we were united for a thousand years,” Archbishop Pezzi said. “Then for another thousand we were divided. Now the path to rapprochement is at its peak, and the third millennium of the Church could begin as a sign of unity.” He said there were “no formal obstacles” but that “everything depends on a real desire for communion.”
As much as I fervently desire for the Church to breath with both lungs again, and as much as I believe that the Lord can do the impossible, I think the good Archbishop’s prediction is extremely optimistic. My own experience of interaction with Orthodox Christians, both online and in the real world, tells me that the desire for unity is much greater on the Catholic side than in the Orthodox world. Not that the Orthodox don’t want a reconciliation with Catholics, but they more often than not see reconciliation as a “return” of Catholics to the Orthodox fold, rather than a reunion of two Churches.
I will continue to pray for East-West unity, but when people ask me how long I think it will take for reconciliation to happen, I answer that we have been separated for 1,000 years and it may take that long to repair the damage that has been done during that time.