Moscow, April 19, 2021
On the latest edition of the program “The Church and the World,” His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the Chairman of the Russian Church’s Department for External Church Relations, shared his thoughts on the invitations extended to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Pope Francis to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence in Kiev this summer.
In the end, he believes Pat. Bartholomew will go but the Pope will not, reports the site of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“Patriarch Bartholomew is a man who soars in the clouds of his illusions, his ambitions, his emotions; a man who, apparently, has lost touch with reality, because he passes off his fantasies as reality,” Met. Hilarion said.
“For example, he turns a blind eye to the fact that there is the multi-million Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which has 12,5000 parishes, more than 100 bishops, more than 250 monasteries and millions of believers. He claims this Church doesn’t exist, but that there is some other ‘church,’ which he put together from two schismatic groups,” the DECR head continued.
Therefore, the Metropolitan believes the Patriarch will go to Ukraine to try to demonstrate to the world once again that the Ukrainian Church is the so-called autocephalous church created by him.
“But reality shows otherwise,” His Eminence stressed.
“Patriarch Bartholomew made a big mistake, but, unfortunately, he doesn’t want and can’t admit it. He’ll do various things to convince the world that it’s not his fault, that everyone around him was wrong,” Met. Hilarion commented.
As regards Pope Francis, Met. Hilarion believes he is a more realistic man and understand that were he to go to Ukraine, he would be drawn into some scenario of somehow recognizing the schismatics. “I don’t think he’ll go,” His Eminence said.
Moreover, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church does not always have the best relationship with Pope Francis and the Roman See as a whole, Met. Hilarion continued.
“For example, the head of this church, Archbishop Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), said many times that the Havana Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill was all but directed against the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, that it dealt them a blow. He speaks very negatively about this document and about how the Roman Pontiff is in direct dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church,” the DECR Chairman concluded.
Paragraph 25 of the Joint Declaration reads: “It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of “uniatism”, understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re-establish unity. “
Recall that the Havana Document proved controversial within the Russian and wider Orthodox world as well, with its statements that easily lend themselves to an ecumenistic reading. The Joint Declaration was addressed by Fr. George Maximov, Deacon Vladimir Vasilik, and others.