Patrons of Ukrainian project demanding quick action from Constantinople—Met. Hilarion

Moscow, October 31, 2018

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Patriarch Bartholomew is hurrying to create an autocephalous Church in Ukraine because the “project patrons” are demanding quick action, believes His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), the head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR).

The “patrons” of autocephaly are not only in Ukraine, but are mainly in America, Met. Hilarion commented on Saturday on Russia-24 television, as the DECR site reports.

“Archbishop” Makary Maletich, the head of the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC), earlier spoke about the rushed schedule the Constantinople Exarchs are trying to impose upon his group and the “Kiev Patriarchate” to unite.

“The U.S. embassies even have staff that is specially detached to deal with this topic and influence Patriarch Bartholomew. We know it well. We understand that Patriarch Bartholomew isn’t free in his actions now,” said the DECR head.

The same sentiment has been expressed by Archpriest Seraphim Gan of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia: “Therefore Constantinople’s current actions force us to suspect that His All-Holiness is not free in his actions; that behind him are specific powers are that are very far from Christ’s Church and which are following their own ill-fated aims. And this is very bitter indeed!”

Met. Hilarion added that the recent transfer of St. Andrew’s Church in Kiev to the Patriarchate of Constantinople is “part of the deal,” but the Phanar “has its eye on other real estate” in Ukraine too. St. Andrew’s Church was the central church of the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” (UAOC) though the Ukrainian Parliament recently voted to transfer it to Constantinople. “Archbishop” Makary Maletich of the UAOC soon thereafter expressed his regret for allowing his confession’s church to be taken.

As Met. Hilarion explained, St. Andrew’s belongs to the state and operates as a museum, which it will continue to do while Constantinople representatives will serve there. “I think that’s not exactly what Constantinople wanted, and as I’ve learned, President Poroshenko is planning to go there again to, obviously, continue the bargaining,” His Eminence added.

The head of the DECR also stressed that Constantinople’s actions are clearly against the expressed will of the Synods and primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, many of which have explicitly called for the Ukrainian issue to be solved by consensus rather than unilaterally.

And speaking at the 8th International Faith and Word Festival of Orthodox Media in Moscow yesterday, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill made similar comments, saying the work towards Ukrainian autocephaly is an order having a “global dimension” and a “fight for the destruction of the only great Orthodox force in the world.”

“The stakes are very high, and the order for the destruction of the unity of our Church is an order having a global dimension. It’s not just a struggle for jurisdiction—it’s a struggle for the destruction of the only powerful Orthodox force in the world,” His Holiness explained, reports RIA-Novosti.

His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem earlier raised the same warning flag, saying, “Globalization has its main goal of, above all, destroying the Orthodox Church. The tentacles of globalization are trying to penetrate into the Church Body to destroy it. This is happening all over the world, including in Ukraine. The interference of politicians in Church affairs, of representatives of one Church in the affairs of another under the influence of politicians is a sign of this process.”

His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus has also pointed to the geopolitical underpinnings of the Ukrainian Church crisis.

His Holiness also added that there are “less global reasons” for what is happening, with people looking to “squeeze canonical Orthodoxy out of the religious field of Ukraine, to weaken it to its limits, and create a schismatic, and that means, graceless jurisdiction.”

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