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Bartholomew on the Ukrainian Autocephalous: “The Church of Russia has papal claims, not the Ecumenical Patriarchate”


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“Holy war” of Bartholomew – Cyril: “It is an accomplished ecclesiastical event and no propaganda and no war can cancel it”

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew made a videotaped intervention at the evening organized by the Organization for the Promotion of Greek and Orthodox Culture “AENAOS”, yesterday afternoon, at the Officers’ Club, on the topic of Ukrainian Autocephaly and Russia’s war against Ukraine.

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The Ecumenical Patriarch emphasized that the granting of the Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has nothing to do, direct or indirect, with geopolitical facts and with Russia’s unacceptable invasion of Ukraine.

As His Holiness stated, the war is artificially connected by the Church of Russia with the Ukrainian Autocephalous to cover its responsibilities and its great ambitions. “She was the one who deepened the gap between Ukrainians and Russians and not the Ukrainian Autocephaly that was given to the trying Ukrainian people. Russia’s reaction stems from an attempt to impose on the Ukrainian people and from the absence of a healthy ecclesiastical conscience,” he noted.

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In fact, he pointed out that the Church of Constantinople gave a helping hand to Russia to solve the Ukrainian problem, but the efforts were fruitless, with the fault of the Russian side, which, however, does not admit it.

“The leadership of the Moscow Church is trying to impose a new ecclesiology, which overturns the church order on the basis of new data. But he 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, into the introversion of self-sufficiency, into contempt for the modern world,” he declared. And he added that the Church of Russia still accuses the Ecumenical Patriarchate of being responsible for the tensions in Orthodox relations, while “it is she who creates the tensions, the one who illegally entered the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, tarnishing the image of Orthodoxy in the eyes of the Christian world”.

The Ecumenical Patriarch, moreover, emphasized that the leadership of the Church of Russia considers that the intervention of the Ecumenical Patriarchate created a schism in Orthodoxy. “For us this is not true. The granting of the Autocephalous is a substantial contribution to the unity of Orthodoxy as a practical expression of Orthodox ecclesiology and long-standing ecclesiastical practice. It is the actions of the Church of Russia that threaten the unity of Orthodoxy and not the response of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the request of the Ukrainian people”, he underlined.

In fact, he stated that it is the Church of Russia that has papal claims, not the Ecumenical Patriarchate. “Moscow does not recognize the right of Ukrainians to have an Autocephalous Church, because it wants to oppress them, it wants to turn Orthodoxy into a confederation of Churches to have a say. Its overtly arrogant and hegemonic mentality will highlight the pivotal role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Orthodox discourse.

Ukrainian Autocephaly is an accomplished ecclesiastical event and no propaganda and no war can cancel it. The Church of Russia ruthlessly pursues matricide. We are all witnesses to the catastrophe unfolding on Ukrainian soil. A cease-fire must be achieved immediately”, the Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out and sent an invitation to those Orthodox Autocephalous Churches that have not already done so to proceed with the recognition of the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine:

“We call on those Orthodox Autocephalous Churches that have not yet done so to proceed with recognition, thereby showing their support for the trying Ukrainian people, and for the Church of Russia to apologize for the suffering it has caused Orthodoxy.

Allusions to the connection of the war with the granted Autocephalus are figments of a morbid imagination to cover up the crime being committed in Ukraine today.

The Orthodox Ukrainian people will never accept that their church continues to be subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate which blessed the invasion of their homeland,” he emphasized.


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