Eastern Europe: Poaching Souls

Poaching Souls

When Eastern Orthodox leaders met in Istanbul for the first time in a millennium to claim a new, more assertive role for their church, they achieved a remarkable degree of unity with one another. But their joint decree last week revealed a serious disagreement with other Christians.

After decades of "pitiless persecutions" under the communists, the primates insisted angrily, the Orthodox Church was entitled to respect from fellow Christians. Instead, Catholics and "certain Protestant Fundamentalists" have been poaching souls on what the Orthodox Church considers its own turf. The primates are especially upset that Pope John Paul II named five bishops...