Patriarch Theodoros II: no place for politics in Church matters

Moscow, December 1, 2016


Politicians should not interfere in Church matters, and it’s necessary to observe the principle of the indivisibility of the Church, declared Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa in an interview with RIA-Novosti, commenting on the situation with the efforts to create an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

“I know Ukraine very well—both bishops and laity—and have a very good understanding about what incentives the people are pursuing, who are trying now to sow discord in Ukraine. From the very beginning, when the problem of the Church schism had only just arisen, the Alexandrian Patriarchate and I, as its representative, have taken the position that the Ukrainian Church is an integral part of the Russian Orthodox Church. When I served the Divine Liturgy in the Kiev Caves Lavra I stated that for the Alexandrian Church the canonical primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine. Then when the schismatics attempted to forcibly enter, without invitation, into the Holy Trinity church which was then a podvoriye of the Alexandrian Church in Odessa, I stood in the doorway and said: ‘It’s not going to happen.’ The ancient Alexandrian Church formulates its position thus: we stand before God together with the Russian Orthodox Church and call for the Orthodox Church to be one and undivided, as it always has been. There is no place for politics in Church matters. Politicians come and go, but the Church abides unto the ages of ages,” said the primate of the Alexandrian Church.

There is currently operating in Ukraine the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is a self-governing part of the Moscow Patriarchate, and also the ecclesial structures, unrecognized by the Orthodox world, the “Kievan Patriarchate,” and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.”   

Translated by Jesse Dominick


Roman12/7/2016 12:22 pm
Joseph, those that turned out for the cross-country processions belong to the 23.3% who said they were members of the UOC-MP (almost 8,000,000). My point is that a large part of those who profess to be Orthodox in Ukraine do not adhere to the MP. What is the Church going to do about them? - Just call them schismatics, sectaries, etc.? When one looks back in history, many Orthodox Churches went through periods when they were in "schism" with the "Orthodox Church" (more properly, the Phanar) - Greece, Serbia, Rumania, Bulgaria (more than 70 years!). Why, Moscow itself was in "schism" from 1448 (unilateral proclamation of autocephaly) until 1589 (the canonical erection of the Patriarchate in Moscow. And why were they all in "schism"? Because they adhered to the adage: An independent (autocephalous) Church in an independent state.
Joseph12/6/2016 4:12 pm
Roman: Then where was the turnout of the Kiev Patriarchate during the St. Vladimir celebrations last summer? Oh, yes, I forgot--they came out in balaclavas to terrorize the faithful, who turned out in the thousands for the cross-country cross procession.
Roman12/6/2016 2:06 pm
According to the latest survey by the respected Razumkov Center in Kyiv, 64.7% of Ukraine's population professed to be Orthodox (about 30,000,000 people). Of these, 39.5% said they belonged to the UOC-Kyivan Patriarchate; 25.4% professed themselves "simply Orthodox"; 23.3% said they were members of the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate; 4.8% belonged to the UAOC (Autocephalous Church) and 1.3% said they were faithful of the ROC.
Roman12/5/2016 2:16 pm
Perhaps His Holiness knows only part of Ukraine and its people - that part which is loyal to Moscow. While the UOC-MP has the majority of church buildings, surveys consistently show that a majority of the population supports either the UOC-KP or the UAOC. But why throw stones only on one side. Don't the faithful of Ukraine have the right (as in other Orthodox, even very tiny ones, to have an independent, national Church where they can pray in their own native language, where their culture and history is respected, where their heroes are honored, where their fallen soldiers are buried with Orthodox rites? Is this politics? Isn't blessing monuments to the tsars, support for the occupation of the Crimea, blessing of arms of the separatists, support for their so-called "republics" more political? Perhaps His Holiness could visit Ukraine and see the situation as it really is on the ground.
Anthony12/2/2016 6:17 pm
Maybe someone should pass on his sentiments to the Phanar.
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