Ecumenical Patriarch: The Church of Russia has papal claims, not the Ecumenical Patriarchate
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in a video speech, stressed that the granting of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has nothing to do with geopolitical facts and with the unacceptable invasion of Russia in Ukraine.
As the Ecumenical Patriarch commented, the war is artificially linked by the Church of Russia to the Autocephaly of Ukraine to cover its responsibilities and its great ambitions. “It was Russia who deepened the gap between Ukrainians and Russians, not the Autocephaly of Ukraine that was given to the suffering Ukrainian people. Russia’s reaction stems from an attempt to impose on the Ukrainian people and from the absence of a healthy ecclesiastical conscience.
The Ecumenical Patriarch stressed that the Church of Constantinople gave a helping hand to Russia to solve the Ukrainian issue, but the efforts did not work, due to the fault of the Russian side, which does not admit it.
“The leadership of the Church of Moscow is trying to impose a new ecclesiology which is overthrowing the ecclesiastical 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 the contempt of the modern world, ” he said.
He added that the Church of Russia continues to accuse the Ecumenical Patriarchate of being responsible for the tensions in Orthodox relations, while “it is Russia who creates the tensions, the one who entered the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria uncanonically, tarnishing the image of Orthodoxy in the eyes of the Christian world.”
In his video message, the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed 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 autocephaly is an essential contribution to the unity of Orthodoxy as a practical expression of Orthodox ecclesiology and centuries-old 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 stressed 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 in order to have a say. Its overtly arrogant and hegemonic mentality will highlight the pivotal role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Orthodox discourse.
The Autocephaly of Ukraine is a fait accompli of the Church and cannot be annulled by any propaganda or war. The Church of Russia is ruthlessly pursuing matricide. We are all witnessing the catastrophe unfolding on Ukrainian soil. A ceasefire must be reached immediately”.
He called on all Orthodox Autocephalous Churches that have not already done so to proceed with the recognition of the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine.
“We call on all Orthodox autocephalous churches that have not yet done so to proceed with the recognition, showing in this way their support to the suffering Ukrainian people, and the Church of Russia to apologize for what it has caused Orthodoxy.
The hints of a link between the war and the granting of autocephaly are fictions of morbid imagination in order to cover up the crime currently being committed in Ukraine.
The Orthodox Ukrainian people will never accept that their church should continue to be subordinated to the Patriarchate of Moscow which blessed the invasion of their homeland”.
Archbishop Makarios of Australia, for his part, stressed that “what is happening today is the consequences of a sick ecclesiological situation. Since 1433, the Russians have tried every illegality they have committed to enveloping it with a certain spirituality and regularity.
The Patriarch of Moscow presented the example of God, that God gave his Son to be sacrificed. And addressing the Russians, he called on them to sacrifice themselves in the war against Ukraine. Here we are talking about an ecclesiastical underworld, and all of this is trying to surround it with a non-existent spirituality.”
Archbishop Makarios stressed that what is happening is not the consequences of autocephaly, but the consequences of a sick thought, which should concern us. “I am a little disappointed that some Churches are not reacting. I am personally troubled because the Churches do not see what is happening in the ecclesiastical process. Moscow is trying to create a parallel Orthodox world, which has nothing to do with the real Orthodox world.
If you look at the history of Moscow, for example when you ask the Russian hierarchs why they were detached from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, they have an answer ready for you. Because they claim – the Patriarchate elected Isidore, who is unitary, who participated in the Council of Ferrara, we do not want such things; we are pure Orthodox.
But they themselves did not tell the truth, they had themselves created a schism, they had been cut off from the Patriarchate, and when it did not respond, they put it within an ecclesiastical framework.”