Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia calls on primates to hold pan-Orthodox meeting on Ukraine

Moscow, February 1, 2019

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After meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Ukraine at his patriarchal residence yesterday, January 31, the primate of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, His Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav, answered journalists’ questions on the ongoing Ukrainian crisis.

Met. Rastislav arrived in Moscow with a delegation from the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia on Wednesday, January 30, for the 10th anniversary of Pat. Kirill’s enthronement as the primate of the Russian Church, which was celebrated this morning with a Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.

Asked whether the Holy Synod of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia would support the newly-created “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” or not, His Beatitude responded:

There was a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia two days ago, and the members of the Synod placed on my shoulders the duty to appeal to the primates of all the Local Orthodox Churches to hold a pan-Orthodox meeting on the Ukrainian issue. Until all the events that have taken place in the Church in life in Ukraine have been discussed, there will be no synodal decision, and our position remains unchanged.

The Synod also stated in June that the Ukrainian issue should be resolved by pan-Orthodox consensus in accordance with the sacred canons, without the intervention of the state, as His Eminence Archbishop Juraj of Michalovce and Košice of Slovakia explained in a recent interview in Kiev.

Further, he offers his support to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the midst of the present persecution against it:

I would like to express my support for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. We are neighbors with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Having heard about the persecutions that began in connection with the events that took place in December, we pray and hope for a speedy canonical resolution to the problem that was created in the Church life in Ukraine by the so-called “unification council.”

Met. Rastislav also expressed his support for the canonical Church in a letter to Pat. Kirill in October and during a meeting at his residence in November with His Grace Bishop Viktor of Baryshevka the Ukrainian Church.

In his interview yesterday, he also stated that a restoration of relations between the Patriarchates of Moscow and Constantinople is impossible without dialogue.

Asked about Ukrainians moving to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, His Beatitude stated:

We accept them all, but our attitude to the schism is categorical: It has no place in Church life. Any schism can be healed only through repentance and a return to the canonical Church. We say this to the people coming from Ukraine; if they were involved in schismatic organizations in their country, we explain to them what schism is and that it must be eschewed.

Several hierarchs of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia have showed their unwavering support for Met. Onuphry and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, including His Eminence Archbishop Michael of Prague and the Czech Lands,His Beatitude Archbishop Joachim of Beroun, His Eminence Archbishop Juraj of Michalovce and Košice of Slovakia, and His Beatitude Metropolitan Christopher, the retired primate of the Church.

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