EUROPE/RUSSIA - New Russian edition of Pope Benedict XVI "Jesus of Nazareth" presented in Moscow

Thursday, 18 January 2024 theology   ecumenicalism   orthodoxy   gospel  

Foto di Ol'ga Chrul'

by Chiara Dommarco Moscow (Agenzia Fides) - On Wednesday evening, January 17, the new Russian-language edition of the book "Jesus of Nazareth" was presented in Moscow at the Biblioteca dello Spirito cultural center. The work, created in collaboration with the Department for External Ecclesiastical Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow and the International Academy "Sapientia et Scientia" in Rome, summarizes the three books on the life of Jesus by Pope Benedict XVI collected in a single volume and appears almost fifteen years after the publication of the first volume of the trilogy in Russian in 2009.
"This volume places the incarnation of God at the center of contemporary debates about culture, politics, social relations, the understanding of justice and the possibility of an authentic universal ethics," commented Metropolitan Antonij of Volokolamsk, President of the Department for External Ecclesiastical Relations.
The presentation of the book, which took place on the eve of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, also provided the opportunity to commemorate Pope Benedict XVI, just over a year after his death. The main speakers of the evening, moderated by Giovanna Parravicini of the Biblioteca dello Spirito cultural center, were Metropolitan Antonij and Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow. Among those present were Aleksandr Alekseevič Avdeev, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Holy See from 2013 to 2023; Igor' Lapšin, coordinator of the volume publication project; Damir-Hasrat Muhetdinov, representative of Muslims in the Russian Federation. Professor Pietro Luca Azzaro, editor of Joseph Ratzinger's "Opera Omnia" and full member of the Academy "Sapientia et Scientia", also spoke via video link. What the various contributions had in common was the emphasis on the living and luminous intelligence of faith that animates the work of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, which offers readers the opportunity to approach the mystery of Christ's life by embracing the historical and exegetical studies developed around the figure of Jesus of Nazareth. The volume contains three excellent prefaces: by Benedict XVI himself, by Metropolitan Antonij and by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See.
"The new Russian-language edition of the very important work of Benedict XVI," writes Metropolitan Antonij in his preface, "highlights the deep unity of this work, originally published in three separate books. The decision to unite them under a single cover, enables the reader to continuously get to know Joseph Ratzinger's reflections on the childhood of the Lord Jesus Christ, his public work, his Passion and Resurrection". Joseph Ratzinger's trilogy not only confirms the possibility of dialogue between reason and faith, but also shows that the result of this dialogue "is not the rejection or 'overcoming' of Church tradition," continued Metropolitan Antonij, "but, on the contrary, a deeper understanding of this tradition, which is the prerequisite for proclaiming its eternal relevance in a situation of constant change". The preface written by Cardinal Parolin for this Russian-language edition underlines the connection between the lack of faith, or the denial of all expectations and all questions in the face of the apparent failure of the tomb in which Christ's body was placed, and the failures and denials of humanity that characterizes our time: "Ultimately, says Joseph Ratzinger, it seems as if the origin of the inhumanity of the current historical moment in its many forms of expression lies precisely in this distance from Christ and his Resurrection, therefore in this apparent 'overcoming of the emptiness'. On the other hand, it is often precisely the victims of violence, it is precisely those who stand in the midst of atrocities, who raise prayers that (... ) emphasize God and his will over the interests of this world and its powers; so that today it is perhaps more obvious than ever how 'in addition to the real presence of Jesus in the church and in the sacrament, there is another real presence of Jesus in the little ones, in the oppressed of this world, in the last, in whom he wants to be found by us' - as Benedict XVI highlights, in significant and profound continuity of the magisterium with Pope Francis". "The temptation today, writes Benedict XVI in the introduction to the volume, dated February 22, 2022, "is the same as it was then. One is ready to choose something from the words of Jesus that we like. But one is not ready to accept him and the entire testimony from him. But then you stop walking with him and thereby move away from the grace of eternal life. With my book Jesus of Nazareth I want to open the heart to decide to follow him completely. Together with the knowledge of Jesus, it also wants to awaken love for him in order to find the path that leads to life beyond everything that is worldly".
The trilogy entitled "Jesus of Nazareth", the first volume of which was published in 2007, the second in 2011 and the third in 2012, was a worldwide publishing success. According to the Vatican Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Foundation, over 7 million copies have been sold in more than 160 countries and the work has been or is being translated into 54 languages. (Agenzia Fides, 18/1/2024)