Oxford, April 2, 2019
His Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware), a hierarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and one of the most well-known authors in the English-speaking Orthodox world, gave an interview with the Ukrainian television station Inter recently, in which he spoke about the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, reiterating his disagreement with Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions there.
The situation in Ukraine is very serious and concerns the entire Orthodox Church, Met. Kallistos said in the interview, noting that no Local Church except for Constantinople has recognized the autocephaly it granted to the schismatic church on January 6.
He also noted that while the Patriarchate of Constantinople did not break communion with Moscow as Moscow did with it, “nevertheless the situation remains very serious. Therefore, in my own opinion—not the Patriarchate’s—with all my deep respect for Patriarch Bartholomew, I do not agree with the decision he made.”
He explained that, despite the Patriarchate’s arguments, it is obvious that Ukraine has been part of the Russian Church for 300 years—“this is an historical fact, we cannot change the past.” Thus, he considers Constantinople’s interference there incorrect.
He also expressed his deep concern about the use of force against the canonical Church that we are seeing in Ukraine. “In my opinion, the catastrophe and scandal could cause, for example, the forced eviction of the monks of the Kiev Caves Lavra or the Pochaev Monastery. I hope and pray that this will not happen,” he said.
And as he has said before, while he has no clear idea of what the next step should be, he believes the situation can only be fixed through negotiations, exercising the Church’s conciliarity.
To date, Pat. Bartholomew has refused to call a council to discuss the matter with his brother bishops.
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