The Theology of Patriarch Kirill: the Ukrainian dimension
Andrij Yurash, candidate in political studies, assistant professor at the Ivan Franko University, member of the expert council of RISU
Patriarch Kirill was expected and received in Ukraine the same way that tornadoes are expected and received in America’s Midwest. That is to say, everyone knows that it is not possible to escape a cataclysm, but that it needs to be lived through. Accordingly, a large majority of the residents of the Midwest, after hearing about an approaching catastrophe, hide in basements to prevent an encounter with the elements, to survive, and once leaving the constrained temporary hiding place, think how to re-build their homes, destroyed or mutilated by the wild energy, which appears with no reason out of nowhere, but after which one must continue living one’s life.
Similarly to the Americans from Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma, after finding out about the inevitable religious storm that entered Ukraine from the north, I cowered. Ukrainians have already encountered religious whirlwinds in the last several years. They already breathed the gentle, Mediterranean air from the West, brought with the Pope’s visit of 2001, and lived with the hope of healing at least some of the wounds in the long-awaited gusts of the hot, southern wind brought last year by the Christian leader from Istanbul. But in accordance with the experts’ warnings of the religious weather, this time storms of extraordinary strength were forecasted, which first provoked more than just a cautious, but with time, a chilly, pushed-aside reaction from the Ukrainian community. That is to say, the absolute majority of Ukrainians acted wisely and prudently: they hid from and observed from their basements the religious tornado that swept across Ukraine from the north.
For many, and maybe for most readers, this conclusion is unexpected or they will accuse the author in obvious exaggeration: every day from the screen of the highest rating Ukrainian television channel “Inter” and in the broadcast of the only 24-hour information radio station “Era FM” the Ukrainian community was convinced that the patriarch’s visit was an unprecedented triumph, exultation, and revelation of the almost total support of the Moscow Patriarchate! Ideological propaganda is a scary and effective force! After multiple daily assurances from the most important news channels, a significant part of the Ukrainian community believed in that in which it was not really implicated in and in which reality did not happen!
The main myth of the visit of Patriarch Kirill was supposed to be the manifestation of an unprecedented, to a certain extent even unexpected, all-conquering, victorious, and absolutely dominating the nation love of the Ukrainian people to the Moscow Patriarch –an embodiment and main symbol in the modern context of the concept of Holy Rus’. The organizers of the patriarch’s visit predicted the solemn Divine Liturgies in the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves, the Sviatohirsk Monastery, and the Pochayiv Monastery, and also in Khersones would draw from one hundred fifty (“By different calculations, 150,000 pilgrims are ready to go to Sevastopol) to two hundred thousand pilgrims (information from UKRINFORM).
The realities of life strikingly (by many times!) differed from the expectations and plans. In accordance with the impartial police reports, the most Ukrainians attended Kirill’s last Divine Liturgy in Pochayiv, where close to 40 thousand faithful gathered, though a day earlier 100 thousand were expected. A significantly less number than the expected pilgrims attended the patriarch’s liturgy at the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves (“a few thousand Orthodox faithful”) and at the Svyatohirsk Monastery (up to 20 thousand), and also in Sevastapol (ten thousand). The patriarch’s liturgies in other cities and monasteries gathered believers at a much smaller number: five thousand faithful went to Lutsk and Volodymyr-Volynskyj, one and half thousand to Simferopol, “a few thousand” to Rivne and to the Volodymyr Mount in Kyiv, one to two thousand faithful honored the patriarch with their presence in Donetsk, Horlivets, and the St. Mykilskyj Vasyljivskyj, Horodotskyj, and Zymnenskyj monasteries, and to the monastery in Korets came only a few hundred.
If to add together all of these numbers and even not bring into attention that there were specially formed pilgrim groups of support that visited if not all the Divine Liturgies of the patriarch in Ukraine, then at least all of his liturgies in a certain region (for example, in Kyiv, in the Donbas, or in Volyn), then it is easy to count that the overall quantity of faithful that took part in the events with Patriarch Kirill, hardly exceeded one hundred thousand!
Recognizing the number of those who came specifically to see Patriarch Kirill, it will be useful to put together this number with the overall number of those who consider themselves faithful of the UOC-MP. On the conviction of the adherents and ideologues of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, the absolute majority of citizens of the state make up the flock of this Church. Thus, without a hint of doubt, there is constant emphasis on the number at 35 million. This number is repeatedly cited by one of the most aggressive and most irreconcilable apologists of the contemporary Moscow Patriarch and his Great Russian ideology, publicist and professional enemy of everything Ukrainian Kirill Frolov.
Appropriately, the thesis finds its recreation also in the comments of other church representatives, especially of Viktor Solyarenko, who still on the eve of the visit of Pope John Paul II asserted that the million faithful of the Catholic community in Ukraine should accept the rules of the game proposed by the Moscow Patriarchate, which unites 35 faithful million.
Thus, from the facts which the UOC-MP spreads and propagates, we arrive at the following result of our calculations: the services of Patriarch Kirill were visited by less than a third of one (!) percentage (0.29%) of the potential faithful of this Church! In simpler terms, about three out of every thousand that the Moscow Patriarchate counts as part of its flock went to see the patriarch. As a result, we come to the following conclusion: having supposedly 35 million believers in its flock and rejoicing in the 100 thousand faithful who honored the patriarch during the ten-day visit – where his visit to an unprecedented range of 9 eparchies and about 15 monasteries was publicized extensively – is either a conscious self-deceit, or a conscious game with the intention of maintaining a reputation at a bad, or, we are not afraid to say, unprofitable game! In either case, one cannot say this situation had national recognition and evidence of absolute support and love!
Unfortunately, we don’t have absolute statistics, which would attest about the percentage of those in the American Midwest who during an approaching tornado, instead of listening to the voice of reason and hiding in the basement, disregarding all risks and dangers for their life, decides to admire the elements directly. But I think that the percentage of foolhardy Americans that try to watch or even photograph the tornado is about the same as the percentage of Ukrainians who showed Patriarch Kirill their, and supposedly national, respect and love.
A somewhat more realistic situation begins to appear then when it is placed in the objective picture that reflects the religious situation in the state. Diverse statistical research definitely attests and convinces: the percentage of those who don’t only occasionally visit the church of the Moscow Patriarchate (not giving any meaning to the fact of which church of the patriarchate a specific person attends), but consciously brings himself to the church, answering the corresponding question on the form, where there is a choice between the traditions of the Moscow and Kyiv Patriarchates, by any circumstance does not surpass 30% from the whole population of the country. Thus, the figure is not set at 76%, as the representatives of the UOC-MP assert, but reflects a much smaller number.
The largest percentage of those who feel themselves faithful to the Moscow Patriarchate, we find in the results of the social surveys taken in 2006 by the Razumkova Center – 29.4%. Other statistical accounts have an even smaller percentage: the company Ukrainian Sociology Service (2006) finds 20.4 to be the percentage of support of the UOC-MP, the Democratic Initiative Foundation during its presentation of its research at the Sociology Institute of NAN of Ukraine in 2000 indicates only 12%, the Ukrainian Center of Economic and Political Research finds 14.8% (Dudar N. Religiousness of the Ukrainian Society: latest research, “Man and World,” 2003, №1).
In summary, we come to the thought that in Ukraine the adherents of the Moscow Patriarchate, thus those who clearly perceive their identity as an opposition or alternative to the Kyiv-centric one, make up approximately 20-25%. After comparing the results of several social research reports, this number looks not just objective and realistic, but, to a certain extent, also advanced and optimistic. But at the realization of these realities, the visit of 100 thousand faithful to the patriarch’s liturgies in Ukraine cannot impress or by any degree serve as an illustration of the triumph, which the representatives of the UOC-MP constantly confirm: close to a percentage of the faithful of the Church or 0.2 percent from all of the population of Ukraine gave their respect to the services of the head with their presence.
It is not by accident that at the beginning of our reflection we resorted to these sufficient sizes, and for some even tiresome social-mathematic calculations. The numbers are implicit and convincing, and that is why they illustrated the definite tendency with the most strength. In our case, this tendency, which without that was evident for our analytics, that those familiar with the church-religious realities of contemporary Ukraine, but which, maybe, was hidden from many Ukrainian citizens or through apologetic attitude to the subject of intelligence (in the church-sacred sphere everything still continues to stay an informal taboo by endeavors of systematic, and therefore, in separate dimensions, also critical approaches to the problem), or just did not scrutinize it deeper than the layer of eloquence and emotional rhetoric. We have in mind the absolutely evident tendency that was overall and in many separate occasions demonstrated by the Moscow patriarch in the discussed visit – discordance, from the one side, between words, declared ideology and proposed program elements, and on the other side, real actions, consolidated intentions and expected aims.
The first good example of this incompatibility was illustrated in detail above: outwardly (for the Ukrainian community and, that this is more important, for the Russian society) directed propaganda of an unprecedented and unheard-of triumph of Russian Orthodoxy, which, with close study, is in reality closer to local opportune mobilization of the most active adherents for their radicalization and definitive prevention from oppositional consciousness, which convincingly strengthens and occupies a visible dominant position in Ukraine.
The second example of striking discrepancies between the words and real intentions of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church is repeated, obtrusive propagation of the concept of church unity by synonymous realization of that which, in principle, by today’s conditions, attaining in Ukraine is not possible. Unless with the help of the totalitarian state, which, having applied all sorts of mechanisms of coercion, will need to revert to any opponents and join the illusively unified church body.
Heading the Department of External Church Relations since 1989, today’s Patriarch Kirill for 20 years already was forced to work on the Ukrainian problem. That is to say, he learned the Ukrainian realities very well and is well oriented in the details of the present situation. Thus, he must know that in Ukraine for a long time developed two factors which categorically do not allow one to even talk about the theoretical possibility of attaining church unity on the basis proposed by the Moscow Patriarchate.
The first such factor is the presence in the state of a substantial part of the Orthodox clergy and the Orthodox believers who for already two decades exist outside of a canonical relation with the Moscow Patriarchate. The transition of Galician citizens to the renewed Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) began in August of 1989. This process assumed an irreversible and all-Ukrainian character in June 1992 when in the result of merging the UAOC and part of the UOC-MP was the organizationally constitutional influential and structurally powerful Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate. In contrast to Russia, where the alternative citizens to the ROC of a few different jurisdictions include a few dozen (all together there are a few hundred of them), in Ukraine there are more than five thousand citizens whose ideology and jurisdiction oppose the Russian church tradition. The Kyiv-centric, independent from Moscow, Ukrainian communities began and actively consolidated their own tradition and educated a whole generation. They continue to educate a new generation of clergy and demonstrate convincing tendencies toward multifaceted development in the future. For all of this, the layer of the Orthodox clergy and faithful returning under the jurisdiction of the supremacy of the Moscow Patriarchate cannot even be discussed theoretically.
The second factor—the existence and influence of which Patriarch Kirill must comprehend—is the deepening in the Ukrainian community of pro-autocephalous intentions that at the level of the average citizen exists in the form of an aspiration to see a so-called “one national Ukrainian church.” It is important to note that similar views are shared by not only those who are already faithful of the UOC-KP or the UAOC, but also a significant part of the faithful that still belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate: is it because they live in regions where there are no Ukrainian autocephalous parishes, or it is because they stay in the church enclosure of the Russian church with the consideration of canonicity. Before it was already shown that in the overall traits there is a unique Ukrainian phenomenon: the jurisdictional ideology of the UOC-MP, thus subordination to the Moscow center, is shared by no more than a quarter of the Ukrainian population, and that this Church today unites the majority of Orthodox citizens in the state (67.5% from the overall number of the Orthodox religious organizations – 11,826 out of 17,514). This situation definitely leads to a deduction: there is a large number of parishioners of the UOC-MP who are ready at any moment to break away from the traditional center in Moscow and support an independent Kyiv-centric de facto autocephalous (national) jurisdiction.
As such, together these two groups (those who already for decades exist without a Eucharist connection with the Moscow Patriarchate and those who only formally belong to the UOC-MP, declaring their aspiration to belong to a separate Patriarchate – the Kyivan one) make up a rather convincing majority of the Ukrainian community. It is absolutely impossible that Patriarch Kirill could not know about this significant fact and demonstrative phenomenon of the Ukrainian religious life. And thus, in the context of the permanent realities, the patriarch’s daily mantras about unity, these calls of his that ignore not only the realities, but also the desires of the majority of the Ukrainian citizens, look no less than insincere, speculative, and perceivably provocative. The deep, genuine calculation of the patriarch was exactly opposite to that which was declared by him: speaking of unity of which the attainment by the proposed program of this church hierarch is not possible, the Moscow head in reality, from one side, nudged his partisans in Ukraine to self-isolation and inspired them to get out of the processes which threaten the Moscow Patriarchate of complete loss of control over the religious situation in the state, and, from another side, did everything he could to convince the faithful of the alternative jurisdiction that the jurisdictional ghetto designated for them by the Moscow Patriarchate is perpetual and that there are no and cant be alternatives to the agreement with the Moscow Patriarchate. Thus, in this case, none of the reasons to speak about the patriarch’s sincerity or firmness apply.
The third point of the ideological program of Patriarch Kirill, which was proposed by him in Ukraine, is the apparent love to all Orthodox believes: as if, the spiritual father arrives to himself at home, and tries to exemplify the most genuine feelings to each spiritual son – and to the one who recognizes the authority of the Moscow hierarch, and to the one who through juvenile spontaneity and ardor still rebels against the true father. By the formal point of view and without a critical view on the situation this position can look like true fatherly trouble and an attempt through love to bow every Orthodox heart to the spiritual Fatherland – the Moscow Patriarchate as the one and true inheritor of St. Volodymyr’s christening and the whole tradition of Holy Rus’. But one needs not long to take in the meaning of the patriarch’s speeches to find out the true motives and genuine feeling of the head of Holy Moscow toward the supposedly lost Ukrainian progeny.
“There is no other path to the development of the world and human civilization, for the development of any human society, other than the laws of love and from the course of love solidarity, mutual support, harmony, and peace,” proclaims Patriarch Kirill during his first liturgy in the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves on the day of Prince Volodomyr. And already two days later, forgetting not only about the laws of love proclaimed by him, but also about the elementary principles of coexistence, mutual relations of cultures, respect (no saying – love) to a close one, and simply – recognition of the worthiness of a different-minded person, in the Sviatohirskyj Uspenskij Monastery he assures in the inevitability of God’s punishment for all who are “in schism,” thus, those who don’t want to recognize the supremacy of the Moscow Patriarchate: “to lead a Liturgy in schism is hypocrisy, which the Lord punishes.” Furthermore, the head of the church – the highest representative of Christian love – is confident and calls for God’s wrath on “those who are in schism” and on “the people that don’t understand the truth.” Indeed, the incomprehensible display of Orthodox love and Orthodox “human love,” which is one piece of the evidence of the triumph of the Moscow Orthodox civilization, in efficiency and need to confirm it, was constantly reminded by the patriarch.
By the way, in this context we can speak about the next, fourth display of double standards and attempts to substitute concepts (more precisely, the replacement of unwanted conceptions by those which the patriarch would like to hear) with the concept proposed by the head of the ROC. Is not the most important message, which the current Moscow head attempts to instill in the consciousness of the Ukrainian flock, a thesis about the belonging of Ukraine to the civilization field joint with Russia – the so-called Eastern Slavic Orthodox civilization, which unites Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and supplies common principles. Thus, no possibility for Ukraine in the sense of its mental distinction, thus the right for a separate history, culture, and, what is completely outside of discussion, religious tradition, is foreseen. When in front of parishioners of the St. Mykolajskyj Cathedral of Horlivka, the patriarch unambiguously declared: “Here, on the holy land of the Donbas, I cannot not talk about the relationship between Russia and Ukraine. This is a single space of the Holy Rus’, along with Belarus, along with many other countries. We are a single people that came from the bath of the Kyiv baptism.”
We wont discuss this thesis too much or too long. About that which there is no separate Ukrainian people has been talked about not for just one hundred years, trying to convince the latter, that they are not Ukrainians, but just one people with the Russians, or the best case – Little Russians. Not so long ago the “Little Russian” concept in its most aggressive form was recreated by one of Patriarch Kirill’s closest – and since the latest election of the patriarch’s throne – and one of the most influential church intellectuals, proto-deacon Andrej Kuraiev. The word “Ukraine” he feels is no more than a “nickname” used by Polish “colonizers and occupants”: “Today it is deviant politics and ideology, even in the state schools of contemporary Ukraine, that changed so much! The disdainful nickname came to represent an honorary title, and, conversely, a high and radical name (Little Russia) began to give children a certain “imperialistic Muscovite plot.”
Thus, there is nothing strange in the fact that the services of this intellectual are being used and listening to his advice, the Moscow top hierarch repeats the most reactionary, without any exaggeration, chauvinistic Black Hundreds’ ideas. But something else is surprising: with such persistence Patriarch Kirill, contrary to the well-known historical facts and modern realities, defends the degrading and offensive for Ukrainians ideology, ignoring the self-sufficient identity not only of the majority of Ukrainian citizens, but also downright disregards the advice and convictions of the his own hierarch called for to lead the Ukrainian flock – Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan). At the Hierarchal Synod of the ROC in June 2008 the head of the UOC-MP made an attempt to reach out to the consciousness of the Moscow hierarchs: “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is obliged to take into consideration the social-cultural features of our state… Today we need to talk about the two poles of Ukrainian culture, two different orbits of civilization: “East” and “West.” The Eastern-Ukrainian world, concentrated mostly on the left-bank of the Dnipro River, was formed as a result of an interaction of the Ukrainian and Russian cultures. The Western-Ukrainian community, located mainly on the right-bank of the Dnipro, on the contrary, was created as a result of an interaction of Polish, Austrian, Romanian, Lithuanian, and other European cultures.”
The objective existing civilization-cultural pluralism of Patriarch Kirill does not take into account, or more precisely, does not want to take into account, underlining this many times, that he is not and in principle cannot be the spiritual father of all Ukrainians.
Speaking about spiritual unity, Patriarch Kirill probably had in mind the mechanisms and forms of strengthening of such a unity, which for long have been worked on and approbated in Russia. One of the first similar attempts was the action of liquidating the active and influential community of the Kyivan Patriarchate, which emerged outside of Moscow in Noginsk and began to renew several local churches. Then, still in the middle of the 1990s, as part of a joint action, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, the police, and the Russian clergy jointly stormed several churches and expelled the faithful, confirming the unity of the Eastern Slavic Orthodox civilized space. The experience of the ten-year existence of the ROC actively uses, even now, applies the conception of Holy Rus’ to the post-Soviet space and removes dozens of the community of the Russian Orthodox Autocephalous Church – one of its internal-Russian opponents – in Suzdal and surrounding cities and villages (portal-credo.ru: ; ).
Ukraine awaits similar scenarios in the case, if someone thinks, in the practical field, to embody the civilization conceptions of the Moscow head. But if in Russia the number of the of opposition to the church totalitarianism of the ROC is dozens, at the most, hundreds, then in the Ukrainian variant calls of the hierarchs of the ROC regarding the return of all church structures, which are outside of its jurisdiction control, engage in resistance, measured thousands of precedents, and from the attraction not only “schismatics” of Orthodox structures, but also Greek Catholics, and in certain cases also Roman Catholic and even Protestant communities. That is, to realize that which was said by the established futurist of the ROC, the already mentioned proto-deacon Andrej Kuraiev, who in one comment predicted for Ukraine a civil war the case of “the creation of a national church.” Really: if not a civil war, then, at least, a massive disturbance and cataclysm will be guaranteed in Ukraine in the case, if some unwise force (be it an elected ruler, or outside factors) attempts in practice to prove the rightness of the words and the civilization scheme of Patriarch Kirill.
One more, the fifth, aspect, which we can use to track the two grounds in the statements of Patriarch Kirill is the speculative thesis about the supposedly already execution of the fact of the existence in Ukraine of a national church. We will leave the context outside of special attention and comments, in the framework in which this was articulated: sharply, forcefully, aggressively, in the quality of frank opposition to the Ukrainian president, and so – inadequately and untruthfully. At this time we will not analyze the theological arguments (this is already done to a great extent by Anatolij Babynskyj), which leads to a complex, but definite conclusion:
— there is no recognized, that is to say canonical in the traditional meaning of this word, national Ukrainian Orthodox church in Ukraine;
— in Ukraine function structures of a different canonical national church – certainly not Ukrainian, but Russian;
— in truth, in parallel and actively develop de facto autocephalous, but so far not recognized by the Orthodox community, churches (first of all we have in mind the influential UOC-Kyivan Patriarchate), which demonstrate the multifaceted potential to become in the nearest future a basis for the constitution of the canonical national Ukrainian church.
And thus, to affirm that in Ukraine there already exists a national Orthodox church can only be done under two conditions: first, if Ukraine is considered a canonical territory of a different church (thus subordinate in the jurisdictional sense of other national church structures), and second, to acknowledge that Ukraine in principle does not have the right for its own national church.
In this context the declaration of Patriarch Kirill about the existence in Ukraine of a national church is nothing more than a substituted understanding, thus a conscious speculation which has the purpose of baffling the part of the Ukrainian community which is not versed in the fine points of Orthodox ecclesiology or just uncritically and apologetically accepts the words of the Moscow church head.
Just in the general traits these analyzed aspects of the ideological program presented in Ukraine leave no doubts: between the reality and predominant in the Ukrainian society expectations and moods, from the one side, and conceptions that the head of the ROC declared during his visit, there exists a striking discrepancy. Let’s repeat: we can’t even suppose that the leader of the Moscow Patriarchate is not familiar with the Ukrainian context, and thus his provocative actions and declarations are only the result of ignorance or intellectual spontaneity. Everything above that was systematically examined by us gives reason to assert: the current patriarch of Moscow and all Russia consciously and logically strengthens among his faithful and propagates across the wide Ukrainian community ideas that have the aim to:
— place under doubt the self-value and self-sufficiency of any display of a separate Ukrainian identity;
— deepen and strengthen the complexes of the national inferiority in order to reorient a larger part of the Ukrainian community on the concepts of the so-called pan-Slavic unity, which in reality will mean bring them closer together and a continued dissolution in the Great Russian (Russian) space;
— liquidate any manifestations of one’s views, as well as religious pluralism for the renewing of spiritual-church totalitarianism – of the environment in which for centuries was developed by Russian Orthodoxy and without which it cannot be felt to the full value even in the modern world.
Opposition, different opinions, and diversity bother the head of the Moscow church in principle. Without this it is difficult to imagine the Ukrainian community (open discussion, exchange of thoughts, a test of conception), and is completely unacceptable for the Moscow guest. It’s not by accident that he categorically refused from an open, uncensored discussion with the Ukrainian community. One of the first questions of the Ukrainian journalists after the completion of the public prayer on St. Volodymyr’s Mount on the first day of the patriarch’s stay in Kyiv, where the guards and service workers of the Moscow Patriarch were not successful in filtering the audience – regarding the possibility of a meeting of Kirill with representatives of the Kyivan Patriarchate – forced the entourage of the patriarch to apply all measures prevent in the next ten next days of the visit something similar from happening. Due to this, not once were the patriarch’s meetings announced to Ukrainian journalists, so far as a mechanism was not found to choose only the necessary and comfortable meetings. The conversation with the so-called representatives of the intelligentsia on “Inter” channel seemed more like a theatrical performance with one hero on the stage – there was nothing reminiscent of an open exchange of ideas. All further meetings of the patriarch (in the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves with the bishop of the UOC-MP and students and professors of the Kyiv Spiritual Academy, or in the Korets monastery with the clergy of the Lviv diocese, or in Volodymyr-Volynskyj with representatives of the clergy of the western-Ukrainian dioceses) were just get-togethers of his “own,” where there were no chances for surprises.
All truth be told, tolerant Ukrainians can understand and excuse the guest of everything, including his disdain regarding the hosts and specific style of conversing: not speaking the truth to someone’s face, calling God to punish people of a different thought, covered with nice words the true content, which for the ordained and familiar with cryptograms should have been understood – go in attack, destroy opponents, and master at any cost.
To forgive and tolerate are national traits of Ukrainians. There is nothing wrong in them. They must listen to everyone, especially a guest. But, in addition to cultivating forgiveness and tolerance, Ukrainians still need to learn and understand the substance of that which occurs around them: that is, to listen with tolerance, but make such deductions which will serve one’s own intellectual strengthening, increase one’s power, dignity, and self-value. I want to believe that the Ukrainian community will not forget the lessons it learned from Patriarch Kirill.