The Russian Orthodox Church; according to a report in last Sunday's Observer, has restated its age-old challenge to the Catholic Church and to the Pope in particular., The challenge was delivered by the head of the Orthodox Church, the Patriarch Sergei, in the latest copy of the Moscow Cheecit flu (leti,z.
The title of the Patriarch's statement F, "Docs a Vicar of Christ egist in the Church ?" The Patriarch replies, emphatically. " No."
"In the Patriarch's view the mystical marriage between Christ and His Church renders the existence of ' an intermediary Nicer of Christ on earth aluggether inconceivable . . The GasPel teaches us that Our Lord Jesus, while quitting the world bodily, had no thought whatever of handing over His Church te the care of anyone else. . . He has sent His Apostles and their successors, the Orthodox Bishops, that they may preach the Gospel and lead the faithful."
The Patriarch utters a warning against placing too much confidence in the temporal and material organisation of the Church. He is clearly content to render unto the Soviet Caesar the things that are Caesar's.
In the light of these attacks by h-oth lzvestia and the Church Bulletin, recent rumours about a Concordat between Moscow and the Vatican appear to be idle stories, adds the Observer. The policy of the Orthodox Church -is now. as in pre-revolutionary times, the same as the State policy of Russia ; -aid the problem of Catholic Poland has added to the old tension between Moscow and the Vatican City.