Patriarch Filaret calls on Patriarch Kirill to 'tell the truth' and stop Putin from causing bloodshed
Following the address of Patriarch Kirill on events in Ukraine, UOC-KP Primate Patriarch Filaret called on the former to tell the truth.
Patriarch Filaret was indignant that Patriarch Kirill promotes "the Russian world” once again, rejecting the existence of an independent Ukrainian nation, having a right to statehood, sovereignty and independence.
Criticism from the UOC-KP head was drawn by the fact that Patriarch Kirill replaces the independent Ukraine and Russia with the term “historical Rus” thus justifying Russia’s interference with the internal affairs of Ukraine.
Patriarch Filaret states that the things taking place on the Ukrainian land were not "strife", as Patriarch Kirill puts it, but the real full-scale aggression of Russia against Ukraine.
Therefore, addressing Patriarch Kirill, the UOC-KP head says: "We must tell the truth, for in the Crimea or Donbas there had been no armed confrontation until Russian soldiers and mercenaries armed by Russia came there. Just the same there had been no armed confrontation on Maidan in Kyiv, as it is known now, until the president of your country talked Viktor Yanukovych into forceful actions against the Ukrainian people through adopting dictatorial 'laws,' and later through the use of weapons.”
Patriarch Filaret responded to Patriarch Kirill’s appeal to stop bloodshed: "You call to stop bloodshed - so contact your president, Vladimir Putin, and say that the Church does not approve of aggression against Ukraine. When Vladimir Putin instructs the armed forces and intelligence agencies of the Russian Federation to stop acts of aggression against Ukraine, and instructs the border troops to prevent the armed mercenaries and saboteurs from crossing the border, then the bloodshed in Ukraine, which is sown by Russia, will stop.”
Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow
Having read your yesterday's appeal to the Fullness of the ROC on the events in Ukraine, I am now forced to appeal to you in public.
In fact, in your address you deny once again the existence of the Ukrainian people as an independent nation with the right to real statehood, sovereignty and independence. Respecting Ukrainian statehood rhetorically, in reality you are further promoting the "Russian World", where Ukraine is a constituent part subordinate to Moscow.
You are substituting the independent states – the Russian Federation and Ukraine – with the term “historical Rus”, which allows you to justify the interference of the Russian leadership with the internal affairs of Ukraine.
Likewise, two centuries ago, the term "Slavic world" was used by the Russian Empire apologists to justify seizure and the dismemberment of Poland, the bloody suppression by the Russian troops of the struggle for restoration of Polish statehood.
I think that having undertaken lately a mission of reconciliation of the Russian and Polish peoples, you shall understand that the idea of the “Slavic World”, which was used in the past with a purpose hostile for Poland, is unlikely to facilitate such reconciliation and mutual understanding. Similarly, the idea of the “Russian World”, adopted by the Kremlin to justify its aggression against Ukraine, annexation of the Crimea, support for terrorists and armed separatists in the Donbas, are the hostile ideas to statehood and independence of the Ukrainian people.
Therefore, the “Russian world” rhetoric, which was used in your address yesterday, clearly does not facilitate either cessation of hostilities, or establishing peace, or overcoming the growing hostility in the relations between Russia and Ukraine.
You are substituting again, as it has become traditional for the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate, the unity of the people of God in Christ with the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church structure, the unity of your administrative authority over the clergy and flock with the unity of Russian (and in reality often - Soviet) cultural identity. The unity of the people of God embraces all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and not only the "historic Rus", while the administrative authority unites nothing but the Russian Orthodox Church. Putting the sign of meaningful equity between these two unities is an unworthy manipulation on your part.
Remember the Bases of Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, which state (paragraph ІІ.1) the following: "Being universal by nature, the Church is at the same time a unified organism, one body (1 Cor. 12. 12). It is the community of the children of God, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession… Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people." (1 Pet. 2. 9-10). The unity of this new people is not ensured by national, cultural or linguistic community, but by the faith in Christ and the Baptism. The new people of God "do not have an enduring city, but are looking for the city that is to come." (Heb. 13. 14). Spiritual homeland of all Christians is not the Earth, but “the Jerusalem above”(Gal. 4. 26). "
You define as a "strife” what is happening now in the Donbas, in my country. In fact, it's not a strife, but the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. There had been no armed confrontation either in the Crimea or in Donbass until Russian soldiers and mercenaries armed by Russia came to Ukraine. Just the same there had been no armed confrontation at Maidan in Kyiv, as it is known now, until the president of your country talked Viktor Yanukovych into forceful actions against the Ukrainian people through adopting dictatorial "laws", and later through the use of weapons.
Therefore as the hierarch of the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Primate you are obliged to tell the truth.
You call to stop the bloodshed, so talk to your President, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, and say that the Church does not approve of Russia's aggression against Ukraine. When Vladimir Putin gives instructs the armed forces and intelligence agencies of the Russian Federation to stop acts of aggression against Ukraine, and instructs the border troops to prevent the armed mercenaries and saboteurs from crossing the border, and then the bloodshed in Ukraine, sown by Russia, will stop.
All that one has to do for this end is to obey the laws of the Russian Federation prohibiting illegal border crossing, illegal arms trafficking, mercenary activities, and to start observing international and bilateral agreements that Russia still grossly violates in relation to Ukraine.
Calling your state leadership to stop the aggression against Ukraine, you will also fulfill what your favorite document “Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church” prescribes.
“National sentiments can cause such sinful phenomena as aggressive nationalism, xenophobia, national exclusiveness and inter-ethnic enmity. At the extreme, these phenomena often lead to the restriction of rights of individuals and nations, wars and other manifestations of violence”, goes paragraph II. 4 of the Concept. “It is contrary to Orthodox ethics to divide nations into the best and worst ones and to belittle any ethnic or civic nation. The teachings, which put the nation in the place of God or reduce faith to one aspect of national identity, contradict toOrthodoxy even more”.
Unfortunately it is aggressive nationalism, xenophobia, and ethnic hatred that we see flourishing in today's Russia, which also led to the consequences described in the Concept – the restriction of rights of individuals and nations, wars and other manifestations of violence. A concept of the "Russian World" is the doctrine, which reduces faith to one aspect of Russia's national identity.
You have repeatedly tried to convince everyone that you are “above the fray” and want reconciliation. But your Concept says: “The Orthodox Church carries out the mission of reconciliation between hostile nations and their representatives. Thus, during the inter-ethnic conflicts, it does not take any side, except cases of explicit aggression or injustice exhibited by one of the parties”. The whole world condemns the aggression of Russia against Ukraine, but you keep silent and do not stop the Russian leadership as the aggressor in order to please secular authorities or for the fear of it.
I’m writing all that not in order to insult or humiliate you, but in bounden duty of a hierarch senior by ordination, who laid a hand on you during the bishop consecration, and as a brother in Christ. I sincerely wish that Ukraine and Russia lived in peace and mutually beneficial cooperation, and the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches were in communion as equal Autocephalous Churches.
But you can achieve this only if Russia stops looking at Ukraine as part of its territory, stops looking at the Ukrainian people as part of the Russian people, and at the Ukrainian Church as part of the Moscow Patriarchate. However much you and others in Russia might dislike it, Ukraine is not Russia, the Ukrainian state is an independent sovereign state, and the Ukrainian people are an independent political nation.
Both you and we are talking about the wish of peace. But the peace may be different, because the occupation may bring cessation of hostilities, but it is not a true peace. Therefore, as long as Russian troops and mercenaries stay on the Ukrainian land, as long as Russia strongly supports military action on the Ukrainian territory, the true and just peace cannot be restored.
It depends on you as well when the aggression of Russia against Ukraine stops, as well as the death, bloodshed, suffering and grief of the people it has brought about.
Therefore, I call you, in the face of God and conscience, to raise the voice of truth instead of wordy and ambivalent diplomacy, and thus contribute to ending the hatred and bloodshed. May the Lord strengthen you for such a feat.
With love in Christ -