Patriarch Kirill says Constantinople is geopolitical tool, Patriarch Bartholomew says it’s not

Moscow and Athens, January 26, 2023


The Patriarchs of Moscow and Constantinople spoke about one another’s Churches this week, exchanging views about the poor state of inter-Orthodox relations and the geopolitical influence in the Church.

Yesterday, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia gave a presentation in the State Kremlin Palace as part of the 21st International Christmas Educational Readings, on the theme of “Global Challenges of Modernity and Human Spiritual Choice.”

Among a number of other topics, the Patriarch tied the poor state of inter-Orthodox relations today to the creation and partial recognition of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”

According to the Russian primate, the Patriarchate of Constantinople is a pawn in geopolitical games, and any hierarch who recognizes the schismatics thereby proves that he also isn’t free:

I can’t fail to mention the serious crisis in international relations, which, unfortunately, has also affected inter-Orthodox relations. For several years now, external forces have been using the Patriarchate of Constantinople for their political purposes. Its position is very vulnerable, since the center is located in Turkey, on the territory controlled by non-Orthodox authorities, and the main dioceses and sources of income are located in the United States and Western Europe. It’s quite obvious that these factors deprive the Patriarchate of Constantinople of freedom, and therefore it’s through it that they’re trying to split the Russian Orthodox Church today by legalizing the newly created schismatic structure in Ukraine. Being under the powerful pressure of these forces, some primates, as well as hierarchs of a number of Local Orthodox Churches, also declared the recognition of schismatics. Here’s a very good indicator: If a certain hierarch defends the schism, it means that this person isn’t free, he’s controlled by other forces. Today, the attitude to the schism determines the level of genuine freedom of a particular Church; its ability to make important decisions independently.

Hierarchs from throughout the Orthodox world have expressed the same view about Constantinople. Met. Isaiah of Tamasos of the Church of Cyprus gave an interview in 2021 in which he spoke about Constantinople being weaponized by Western powers against the Russian Church. He changed his view last year, however, with his hopes of becoming the next Archbishop of the Cypriot Church.

However, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople insists that the creation of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” has nothing to do with geopolitics, although both OCU hierarchs and politicians openly acknowledge the central role of politics in the matter.

The Patriarch made this assertion earlier this week in his speech to a conference about the war and Ukrainian autocephaly held in Athens, with the participation of hierarchs form the Churches of Alexandria and Greece.

In his view, “It was Russia who deepened the gap between Ukrainians and Russians, not the autocephaly of Ukraine that was given to the suffering Ukrainian people.”

The Church of Russia “must understand that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the only guarantee for the unity of Orthodoxy. Without the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Orthodoxy will fall into the vortex of nationalisms,” the Patriarch said.

And responding to the widely held view that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has a papal self-understanding, Pat. Bartholomew stated that it’s the Russian Church that makes papal claims—which is why it doesn’t recognize the autocephaly of the Ukrainian schismatics, he believes.

Further, the primate of Constantinople called on those Local Churches that haven’t recognized the schismatics “to proceed with the recognition, showing in this way their support to the suffering Ukrainian people.”

Follow OrthoChristian on Twitter, Vkontakte, Telegram, WhatsApp, MeWe, and Gab!


Wayne Isailovich2/20/2023 8:33 pm
The fall of the Orthodox Church will fall upon the shoulders of Bartholomew and his desire for ecumenism. This will be in line with Church of Rome which seeks to overturn 1054 where Orthodoxy broke free from Papal control. I choose not to support any heretical control of our Orthodox Church. No matter what.
Joshua2/1/2023 7:05 am
You are taking a huge gamble, and basing your gamble on fiction. MAYBE some of the enemies of Christ dressed in bishop's clothing will repent and become true bishops, but you are not thinking with an orthodox mind to put your faith and hope in a story that has no substance or evidence! You have to be like the Bereans who tested even the Holy St. Paul to make sure that what he was saying was truly from God Acts 17:10-11. You shouldn't spread fiction as if it is dogma or doctrine of the church, that is wrong and very very unorthodox!! Don't do it! At this point we can only judge them by "their fruits" as Christ our Lord commanded. Be wise as a serpent, Holmes.
sherlock_holmes1/30/2023 11:16 pm
"I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." Luke 15:7...@ Joshua...Let's hope we don't have to wait too long till this will become reality. More persecutions and sufferings of the Christians in Ukraine, more pressure on the consciences of those who contributed to it and don't take attitude yet.
Joshua1/28/2023 5:29 pm
Holmes, its all hearsay my friend! NO PROOF whatsoever that Elder Ephraim did really appear to a couple in Greece. It's just fiction at this point. Usually when something like this happens the saints communicate the same massage to multiple people so that there is no doubt that it is from God. For example when St. Nicholas was incarcerated by the emperor for slapping Arius in the face ALL of the bishops had the same dream, and that dream was a dream involving Christ and the Theotokos basically defending and vindicating the Holy Saint Nicholas. If holy Elder Ephraim was truly sent by God to communicate this massage it would have been communicated to many of his spiritual children who found/find themselves in the same dilemma as this "couple in Greece" and there would be no doubt that the Elder was telling people to stay and commune in the churches that recognize the heretical sect of the Ukraine. At this point its one anonymous "couple" somewhere in Greece that nobody knows, and we are simply supposed to believe it? The bible that I read teaches me to be very careful and in this case I am simply NOT convinced that the Elder would say such a thing when he himself left the EP in the past for far less un-Christian behavior than what we see the Phanar committing today and went to ROCOR!! I believe that this was a story created to pacify the conscience of the faithful who wanted to leave the Greek Archdiocese in the west and leave the Church of Athens in Greece, because of the severity of the terrible crime P. Bartholomew committed in the church and unfortunately it worked :-(
Raphael1/27/2023 8:11 pm
It's so obvious to any human being with a slightly functioning brain that the "patriarch of Constantinople" is a tool of the west and the god-hating regimes that have taken over ALL western nations. But I am not so sure that he is doing this because he has no choice. I truly believe that this man is a willing servant of the godless! He loves them, agrees with them and willing does their bidding. In other words, he is one of them, and has NOTHING to do with Christ whatsoever!! A true son of the the free masons and their false "great architect" god! Just like judas, this man will sell his own soul for the sake of money! The fact that he is still a primate of the Church underscores the high level of corruption that exists in the orthodox Church. I am 100% certain that if this was during the time of St. Basil the great or St. John Chrysostom, this man would be defrocked and anathematized, but unfortunately, today we have a lot of "yes men" to the godless west, in the orthodox Church, and they will NEVER hold a council to rightly and JUSTLY condemn this god-hating heretic for all his evil, and that's the sad fact of the matter!! The Orthodox Church is following the path of their beloved "pope of Rome" and the Orthodox Church will soon be like that empty religious sect of Christianity known as "roman Catholicism" that has no other purpose other than to serve the will of the secular authorities with blind obedient zeal!
sherlock_holmes1/27/2023 8:09 pm
" Elder Ephraim ( the Apostle of America ) appeared to the couple and told them to continue communing in the Church of Greece, but comforted them by adding that various problems would arise that would cause the hierarchs to realize the SeVerItY of their ErRoR in recognizing the anti-canonical actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and that a council would be called to deal with the Ukrainian crisis and other problems."
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required