Moscow, March 30, 2017
The head of the Moscow Synodal Department for External Church Relations (DECR) Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk has expressed concern over the fact that the Patriarchate of Constantinople receives representatives of schismatic Ukrainian church communities.
“We fully respect the Ecumenical Patriarch, and do not consider it necessary to comment on what political actors he meets with. But when schismatic pseudo-hierarchs appear at the Phanar, it cannot but grieve us,” the metropolitan said in an interview with the Romfea Church news agency, posted on the DECR website.
The hierarch noted that these men publish photographs of their meetings with hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and report the content of their talks. “Of course, we don’t know how reliably they report what was said during the meetings, but if we believe these men, then in the Phanar they support them and promise to create a unified Local Church in Ukraine, by separating from the Russian Orthodox Church,” Met. Hilarion stated.
He emphasized that they do not want to believe this information in the Russian Church.
“Many times we have heard from the mouth of the Ecumenical Patriarch his solid assurance that he considers the only canonical Church in Ukraine to be the Ukrainian Orthodox Church with His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry at the head. For us, these assurances of His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew are the basis on which we build our relationship with the Patriarchate of Constantinople,” said the department head.
As earlier reported, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada appealed to Patriarch Bartholomew to issue a tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and to abolish the 1686 act whereby the Church in Ukraine was joined to the Moscow Patriarchate. Constantinople left this appeal unanswered. President Petro Poroshenko and other Ukrainian politicians have repeatedly advocated for the establishment of an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church, separated from the Moscow Patriarchate.