Moscow, December 3, 2019
Following the Divine Liturgy yesterday, December 2, in Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill touched upon the lamentable situation developing in world Orthodoxy, noting that the hierarchs of the Russian Church will discuss the issue in more depth at their upcoming session at the end of the month.
It sad and dangerous how Orthodox Local Churches are choosing to recognize the dangerous Ukrainian schismatics under external political pressure, the Patriarch said.
“It is surprising how under the influence of external political factors, our Orthodox brethren take the path of recognition of schismatics—people who have no canonical ordination, that is, in fact, laymen who call themselves priests! And it is especially dangerous and sad that support for the schismatics is coming not at the level of marginal groups, as happened before, but among the canonical Local Churches,” the Russian primate said.
However, the Church has suffered in every age, he noted, so the Lord has not deprived us of sufferings today.
“No one knows yet what this situation will lead to. Of course, we pray and labor that the forces of evil would not destroy the unity of the Orthodox Churches; so there would be no confusion of the forces of good and evil in some amorphous mass, where it’s impossible to know where is good and where evil, where the truth and where falsehood, where a canonical structure, and where the trampling of the canons,” Pat. Kirill commented.
Thus, the Church has entered a difficult era, he continued, and it will come through the trials only with strong unity, “both in solving issues of internal development and in dialogue with world Orthodoxy.”
“We have to carefully consider and comprehend the processes taking place today in world Orthodoxy, and I hope that at the next Bishops’ Council our position in relation to the schisms and to those of our brothers who, unfortunately, support these schisms will be clearly defined,” Pat. Kirill said.
Earlier, the Holy Synod authorized Pat. Kirill to cease commemorating Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens, though the hierarchs are determined to maintain communion with those who remain loyal to Orthodoxy. The hierarchs have yet to formulate a position regarding the Patriarch of Alexandria’s recognition of the Ukrainian schismatics.
“God forbid that the trials which have fallen to our share, to the current generation of the episcopate, clergy, and faithful people, would destroy our unity and weaken our strength, so we can steadily move along the path left by our pious ancestors, preserving the purity of Orthodoxy and the canonical order, not yielding to any subterfuges arising from both outside and sometimes inside the Church,” concluded the Patriarch.