Moscow, May 24, 2018
His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, currently visiting Moscow, took the opportunity to forcefully speak out yesterday in support of the suffering Ukrainian Orthodox Church and against the schismatics and nationalists who attack it, the patriarchal press service of the Russian Orthodox Church reports.
“The martyric Ukrainian Church—where the holy Prince Vladimir baptized the people of Holy Rus’—is now being defiled by the schismatics’ blasphemy, violence, and bloodshed,” His Holiness emphasized, speaking at the International Public Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Peoples award ceremony in Moscow yesterday.
His Holiness was the recipient of this year’s award, which was bestowed upon him in the Hall of Church Councils of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
“Everyone knows the feat of hundreds of thousands of Serbs who fought to the death for holy Orthodoxy. Therefore, I do not need many words to explain how the Serbian Church relates to everything that is happening in Ukraine. Our response to this is the same as that of our ancestors: The Serbian Church fully supports the unity and integrity of the Russian Orthodox Church and strongly condemns the actions of the Uniates and schismatics who tear apart the robe of Christ at the baptismal font of Kiev, selling their people to the enemies of faith. Their end will be according to their deeds (2 Cor. 11: 15).”
The entire Serbian Holy Synod also expressed its support for the martyric Ukrainian Church at its recent April-May session, saying, “The Assembly expresses full solidarity, in co-suffering brotherly love, with the martyred sister Church in Ukraine, exposed to the harshest persecution by the current regime in Kiev.”
“Anyone who helps the Ukrainian schismatics is an enemy not only of the Russian Church and the Russian world, but also of all Orthodox Slavic nations and the entire Orthodox world,” said the primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In conclusion, Pat. Irinej wished that peace and harmony in truth would come to the Ukrainian land, that the faithful would build up and fill ancient and new churches, and that a united Holy Rus’ would continue its mission for the benefit of the entire Christian world with firmness and strength, Interfax-Religion adds.
His Holiness has been consistently been a vocal defender of the Ukrainian people and the integrity of their canonical Orthodox Church. In December 2015 he wrote letters of support to both His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev, stating, “Special concern is caused by continued violent seizures of Orthodox churches by local pseudo-Orthodox schismatics and radical nationalists… Schismatics from the so-called ‘Patriarchate of Kiev’ have long been renounced by Orthodox Churches and refer to Orthodoxy only by name. And their disdain for the norms of Christian morality and readiness to hate, to lie and to spill blood is living proof of it.”
He then sent an address to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko the following February, pleading with him to put an end to the persecutions against the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the attempts to seize the Church’s holy sites, such as the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras.
Unfortunately, the situation has only worsened since then, but the entire Orthodox world stands behind those suffering in Ukraine.
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