Aid Organization Welcomes Documentary's Positive Reception
KOENIGSTEIN, Germany, APRIL 24, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's video message to the people of Russia gave viewers a look at the "warmhearted" Pope of "great dignity," affirmed the Russia specialist for Aid to the Church in Need.
Peter Humeniuk gave this analysis of the response to a documentary that aired in Russia on the state channel Vesti on April 16, the Holy Father's 81st birthday. The documentary included a personal message from the Pope to all Russians.
Humeniuk said the film brought the Holy Father closer to many of the Russian people. Viewers saw the Pope as "a person of great dignity and at the same time kind, and [having a] warmhearted personality," he said.
Many people found it especially beautiful that the Holy Father gave part of his message in Russian, Humeniuk added.
Father Joaquín Alliende, the international ecclesiastical assistant and president-elect of the Germany-based aid organization, expressed his delight at the warm reception, both among the Russian public and in the international press.
According to Father Alliende, the Pope's greeting had "sprung from the Holy Father's heartfelt desire to promote the growth of mutual love between the Catholic and the Orthodox Church."
The Pope received Father Alliende in private audience the day the message was filmed. The priest said he saw for himself how Benedict XVI was deeply convinced that a personal message would help to convey his esteem and affection for all the people of Russia.
The message was "an important step along the road toward a deeper sense of closeness between Catholic and Orthodox Christians," Father Alliende emphasized.
One Catholic priest working in Eastern Siberia told Aid to the Church in Need that he thought the film had been "a real breakthrough" and would undoubtedly "bear fruit for the Church of God in East and West." It was a source of great pleasure for Catholics to know that the film project had also been approved by the Orthodox Church, he said, for this showed what could be achieved when "our Churches draw closer together."
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