Patriarch Bartholomew is not going to take a single step back on the Ukrainian issue
In addition, the first hierarch was asked how he assesses the course of the "new Church" in Ukraine 2 years after granting it the Tomos of autocephaly. Isn't he still worried about Pan-Orthodox unity? Bartholomew replied: "All those who question the rights and responsibilities of the Patriarchate of Constantinople question the very structure of Orthodoxy."
The unity of Orthodoxy will not be tested due to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's response to the request of the Ukrainian Orthodox. Ukrainian autocephaly was an action of the responsibility of the Mother Church in relation to millions of our Orthodox brothers who were, through no fault of their own, outside the Church," Bartholomew said, adding that"it was not serving political goals or geopolitical interests."
According to him, two years later, he sees how "the new church is developing", and Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv is contributing "with his fraternal initiatives to the normalization of church life."
At the same time, he has stressed that "he read about the violence of radical groups against Orthodox Christians," and "if this is true," he condemns such actions.
As for the decision of the "fraternal" Russian Orthodox Church to interrupt communion with Constantinople and with the local churches that recognized the OCU, Bartholomew called it erroneous.
"Nevertheless, I repeat, there is no schism in Orthodoxy," he said.
Bartholomew also reiterated the Phanar's right to solve such problems.
"As for me as Ecumenical Patriarch, I cannot put Orthodox ecclesiology on the altar of humiliating motives. I have no right to take a single step back," he said.
At the same time, the Ecumenical Patriarch rejected accusations that he behaves like a pope of the East and Orthodoxy.
Those who make this accusation want to create a false impression that the Ecumenical Patriarchate allegedly violates the normal tradition of Orthodoxy, which, of course, they themselves not only do not respect and do not recognize but violate it, interpret it against the Sacred Canons, " Bartholomew stressed.
He has stressed that the problem does not exist in Ukrainian autocephaly and not in allegedly non-existent or invalid ordinations in the Ukrainian hierarchy, which some deliberately refer to.
"The goal is to take away these unique responsibilities of the Throne of Constantinople and transfer them to other hands," Bartholomew stated, noting that he would not put up with this.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine was established on December 15, 2018, at the Unification Council in Kyiv. Currently, only four churches have recognized the OCU. The last Church to recognize OCU after the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Church of Greece and the Patriarchate of Alexandria became the Church of Cyprus.