Moscow, September 30, 2016
It was possible to overcome the Church schism in Ukraine twenty years ago, but pressure on Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople from the American ambassador impeded it.
Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church press service Vasily Anisimov in his interview with Radonezh Radio spoke about the meeting of Patriarch Alexei II, Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia in Odessa in 1997.
"Before the meeting Patriarch Bartholomew spoke briefly with journalists saying that in Ukraine there exists an apostate schism, which is a tragedy for those who have fallen into it, and for the whole nation. Thus, the Ecumenical Orthodox Church urges all schismatics to return to the saving enclosure of the Church of Christ, which in Ukraine is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The patriarchs were to sign the address, distribute it to journalists and give a press conference. We went to the patriarchal residence in the monastery to sign it,” he recalls.
Later, the patriarchs came out in silence, got in their cars and drove away.
"It turns out that the American ambassador in Ukraine called the patriarchal residence, demanding Patriarch Bartholomew to the phone, saying that the USA, which supports the Constantinople Patriarchate, support Filaret's schismatic "Kiev Patriarchate" in Ukraine and demanded that no such address be signed. One phone call, and moreover in a cynical and humilitaing form for Patriarch Bartholomew, thwarted the overcoming of schisms," Anisimov said.