A few weeks ago reader Robert Miller mused on the reason behind the timing of the CDF document about the true nature of the Church, writing:
Events may be providing an answer that should have been clear from the beginning. Perhaps the “target audience” for the CDF statement are the Orthodox (and perhaps especially the Russian Orthodox). After all, Kyrill of Moscow immediately welcomed it. Now, word comes, via Cardinal Etchegaray that a Rome/Moscow summit may be in the offing.
Although no mention is made of the CDF document, this news item (thanks, Robert!) from InterFax indicates that Pope Benedict XVI's recent motu proprio has caught the positive attention of some Eastern Orthodox leaders:
Alexy II greets Catholics as they reintroduce Latin Mass
Rome, August 30, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia has greeted the recent decree of Pope Benedict XVI providing more freedom to celebrate the ancient Latin Mass.
The motu proprio Summorum Pontificum that provides more freedom to use the pre-Vatican II Missal ‘is a positive fact,’ Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia said to comment on the Roman Catholic Church reintroducing her ancient liturgical form.
‘We strongly adhere to the tradition. Without being faithful to her liturgy the Russian Orthodox Church would have failed to survive persecutions in 1920s and 1930s,’ the Russian primate told the Italian daily Il Giornale a few days ago after celebration liturgy in the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Kremlin.
The patriarch opined that the pope’s decision might contribute to establishing closer links with the Orthodox Churches, the daily said.
And, from a Russian news agency:
Relations between the Orthodox and Catholic churches are improving, Russia's Patriarch and Pope Benedict XVI are considering meeting, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray said Tuesday following a meeting with the Russian spiritual leader.
The cardinal, 84, who headed the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace from 1984 to 1998, and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II, 78, met to discuss cooperation between European churches.
The cardinal said relations between the two churches were improving, which was demonstrated by a number of impressive initiatives that had taken place over the past year, including an Orthodox-Catholic conference held in Moscow on June 14-15, and a conference on Christianity, culture and moral values on June 19-21.
A joint conference on the first pontifical encyclical letter, God is Love, is scheduled for October 18-21.
The cardinal handed Alexy II a letter from Pope Benedict XVI and a golden pen. After reading the pontifical message the Russian patriarch promised to reply in written. "I am grateful for the care and wishes for a quick recovery. You can assure [the Pope] that I am feeling well," Alexy II told the cardinal.