Ukrainian media is falsely reporting that 10 Local Churches support Poroshenko’s bid for autocephaly
Moscow, July 31, 2018
Representatives from 10 of the world’s Orthodox Churches, including His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa, gathered in Moscow over the weekend for the festive celebrations in honor of the 1,030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’.
In addition to celebrating the All-Night Vigil in Christ the Savior Cathedral and the Divine Liturgy on the cathedral square inside the Moscow Kremlin, several of the delegations also had time to meet together with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to discuss the fraternal relations between Orthodox Churches and the ongoing situation of persecution against the Church in Ukraine.
Representatives from the Churches of Antioch, Jerusalem, Georgia, Serbia, Cyprus, Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, gathered at the patriarchal residence in Moscow’s Danilov Monastery on Friday, reports the site of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Throughout the course of the discussion, the visiting hierarchs and clergy expressed support for the Russian Church and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church on behalf of their respective Local Churches. Though not present at the given meeting, Pat. Theodoros of Alexandria also expressed his unwavering support for the canonical Church in Ukraine.
Certain Ukrainian media, such as 112 UA, on the other hand, are falsely reporting that 10 of the 15 Local Orthodox Churches support the appeal for autocephaly to Ukrainian schismatics, claiming only the Russian and Serbian Churches oppose it. There has as of yet not been a single statement from a single Orthodox Church in support of autocephaly being given to an amalgamated Ukrainian Church.
Pat. Kirill opened the discussion with a word of greeting, focusing on the spiritual and historical importance of the Baptism of Rus’ and the importance of Kiev as the mother city of Rus’ and the birthplace of Russian Orthodoxy. He also addressed the current unstable situation in Ukraine, noting that forces from outside the Church are purposefully trying to destroy it and carrying out widespread discrimination against the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Church.
Speaking of the Ukrainian authorities’ and Ukrainian schismatics’ bid for autocephaly, His Holiness emphasized, “In these difficult conditions, the support of our fraternal Local Orthodox Churches, primates, and Holy Synods, whose hierarchs I ask on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church to convey our sincere deep gratitude, is truly invaluable to us.”
“The Russian Orthodox Church, based on the immutable holy canons and irrefutable documentary evidence, will not disavow its Dnieper baptismal font, its tradition coming from the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir and the other right-believing Kievan princes, the Divinely-wise metropolitans of Kiev, the venerable fathers of the Kiev Caves Lavra, and the other great Russian ascetics,” the Russian primate emphasized.
His Holiness also shared his conviction that the ongoing attempts to tear the Ukrainian Church apart could lead to a catastrophe on a pan-Orthodox scale.
The visiting guests then all had a chance to address the gathered delegations.
His Eminence Metropolitan Niphon of Philippopolis, representative of the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East to the Patriarch of Moscow, gratefully noted the Russian Church’s great care for the Orthodox world, in particular its support for Christians in the Middle East.
His Eminence Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem expressed his joy at being in Moscow for the celebrations and spoke of the Baptism of Rus’ as the material and spiritual unifying factor of the peoples of Rus’.
His Grace Bishop Vakhtang of Nikortsminda of the Georgian Orthodox Church congratulated Pat. Kirill on behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia and noted that, “In our difficult days, which are full of temptations, wars, and bloodshed, only unity and joint prayer will lead us out of this state.”
Another Georgian hierarch, Metropolitan Gerasim of Zugdid and Tsaish, attended the great celebrations in Kiev, where he noted that the Georgian people know and love His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine: “They support him. He is very well known, loved, and appreciated in Georgia. He is a personal example for all clergy. Many years!”
His Grace Bishop Irinej of Bačka of the Serbian Orthodox Church greeted the Russian patriarch on behalf of the entire Serbian Holy Synod and Church, and spoke of the great spiritual change that Baptism worked in St. Vladimir. Expressing the gratitude of the Serbian people to the Russian people and Russian Church for their continued support in all of their sufferings, Bp. Irinej explained that the Serbian Church will therefore support the Russian Church. “You can always count on our participation in overcoming” the Ukrainian schism, the Serbian hierarch affirmed.
His Eminence Metropolitan Georgios of Paphos of the Cypriot Orthodox Church conveyed the fraternal good wishes of His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of New Justiniana and All Cyprus, and expressed gratitude to the Russian Church for helping those under the heel of Islam.
“I convey the words of His Beatitude, who assures that the Cypriot Orthodox Church will always support the position of your Church in relation to the provision of autocephaly in Ukraine,” Met. Georgios told Pat. Kirill.
His Eminence Archbishop Jeremiasz of Wrocław and Szczecin of the Polish Orthodox Church conveyed the congratulations of the Polish primate Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw, and noted their common origin in the Kievan baptismal font.
“Let me thank you for giving us an example of an understanding of Church unity,” the Polish hierarch continued. “No one and nothing can be more important than this unity. May the Lord preserve this unity by the prayers of the great saints of Holy Rus’, and may He help us bear the witness of the Risen Christ the Savior to the entire world—to bear it with full responsibility, devotion, and love for our peoples.”
Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky), representative of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, read out a message from His Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav.
“We are praying for the unity of the much-suffering Ukrainian people and the Holy Church, for its peace and prosperity,” the letter read in particular. “We believe that by the intercession and prayers of the holy Prince Vladimir before the throne of God, the All-Generous Lord will strengthen the peace and unity of the fraternal peoples blessed by holy Baptism from one font and enlightened by the preaching and podvigs of all those saints who laid down their lives for the sake of the holy Orthodoxy.”
Pat. Kirill then addressed the delegations again and gifted each Church with Eucharistic vessels and other gifts.
The Alexandrian primate also expressed his support for the Russian Church and the canonical Ukrainian Church during his stay in Russia.
“The Church should be governed according to the sacred canons. Politicians have their own ideas, instructions, and orders, but politicians come and go; the Church has been unshakable for 2,000 years. In this sense, the Patriarchate of Alexandria agrees with the view of the Russian Church that political pressure should not be allowed. When States are divided, and then the Church—this is wrong,” the primate of Alexandria told RIA-Novosti.
Primates and hierarchs from all the world’s Orthodox Churches have continually expressed their support for Met. Onuphry and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Read several statements here and here.
Follow us on Facebook!