Kiev, November 12, 2020
The Great Schism of 1054 and the break in communion between the Churches of Russia and Constantinople today have much in common, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine believes.
In a recent interview with the Pastor and Flock journal of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude explains that the break that occurred in 1054 was long overdue and was provoked by the administrative and political division that reflected the already-existing spiritual division between parts of the Church.
As Met. Onuphry notes, there were often disputes between the East and West over the purity of the faith, and, in fact, most of the early heretics arose in the East. And these spiritual disputes led to an administrative and political division.
Likewise, the creation and “autocephaly” of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and the resulting split in communion have their backstory, the Metropolitan said.
The reason for the current division is that some representatives of Constantinople who are inclined towards free thinking and liberalism “have repeatedly tried to justify and accept laws that disagree with the Holy Gospel, which the secular world actively tries to implement in our lives today,” the Ukrainian primate notes.
“This spiritual relaxation from Constantinople in preserving the purity of the holy Orthodox faith is the root cause of the schism that occurred in 2019,” he continues.
His Beatitude also points to the desire of the Phanar to give “to Caesar not only what is Caesar’s, but also what is God’s,” which was the cause of the fall of Constantinople and the destruction of the great Byzantine Empire.
“And today, the Constantinople ecclesiastical authorities are ready to accept any custom and law forbidden by God that the world offers, just to return Constantinople (now Istanbul) to its former glory, and to regain the authority the Church had in the heyday of the Byzantine Empire,” the Ukrainian archpastor continued.
“Theoretically, the break in Eucharistic communion, which occurred in 2019, could be healed, but for that, the respected Patriarch of Constantinople should behave with all as the first in honor and equal in authority. Unfortunately, His Holiness acts as the first both in honor and authority, but this is alien to the Orthodox spirit of conciliarity, by which the Orthodox Church has lived and lives,” His Beatitude concludes.
Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, the Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Church’s Department for External Church Relations, also recently spoke of Constantinople’s liberal theology and how it is stuck in its glorious Byzantine past.