"Our Russian brothers' dream of becoming the masters of Orthodoxy will never come true," - Patriarch Bartholomew
This was stated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during a conversation with journalists. According to him, this conflict was started by Russia in 2016, when the Moscow church and under its influence three other churches did not arrive at the Holy and Great Cathedral in Crete. This is reported by Suspilne.
"We all prepared this Council together. Until January 2016 in Geneva, when we had the last meeting of Orthodox primates, all the churches, and Russia, were preparing this Council. And at the last moment, the Russians and three other Churches refused to arrive," Bartholomew explained.
According to him, at the same time, Russia perceived the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as revenge for the fact that the Moscow church refused to attend the Council at the last moment.
"The dream of our Russian brothers is to be masters of Orthodoxy. But this will never happen because the canons of the Orthodox Church and the actions of the church have given priority to Constantinople for centuries. Constantinople will always be the first church in the system of Orthodox churches, and the sister Russian Church will always be the fifth," the Ecumenical Patriarch said.
Bartholomew noted that no one else broke off communication and did not create a schism in the bosom of Orthodoxy. The Patriarch also stressed that there is no talk of a deep split yet.
"Our Russian brothers say that the schism has occurred. There is no schism. If there is still a schism, they made it by severing communion with four churches," he explained.
At the same time, Bartholomew added that he supports Ukrainians in their desire to have an autocephalous Church.
"The issue of autocephaly of Ukraine did not arise two or three years ago, but in the past, Ukrainians made great efforts to acquire their own church, to gain self-determination. Many decades ago. And now the historic moment has come, the Mother Church of Constantinople has made come true this long-time dream of yours," he stressed.