17 February 2016, 17:49
Ukrainian Greek-Catholics have aggressive rhetoric, even pope not an authority to them - Russian Church
Moscow, February 17, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate regrets that Ukrainian Greek-Catholics (Uniates) are denying the reconciliation proposed by Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis.
"They have their own politicized agenda, their own clients, they are fulfilling these orders, and even the pope is not an authority to them," Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, said in an interview with Interfax-Religion.
He recalled that the mass media have recently published a reaction from an archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church to the joint declaration adopted by the pope and the patriarch.
"This reaction was very negative, very insulting not only to our side, but also to the pope. Those statements show that the administration of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church has not changed its position. They are not ready to hear not only the voice of our patriarch, but even the voice of their pope," the hierarch said.
He said there is an idea of the creation of some commission that would help resolve the problem of the Unia, "but the specific parameters of this commission are now difficult to imagine, especially bearing in mind the way the leaders of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church are thinking."
"In the early 1990s, a four-party commission was created to resolve specific, practical issues relating to the existence of Orthodox Christians and Greek-Catholics in Western Ukraine. However, the Greek-Catholics unilaterally left that commission, they did not want to participate in it. I think this is due to the fact that they don't want to walk the path that is now outlined by the pope and the patriarch in their joint declaration," the source said.
"The way offered by the pope and the patriarch is the way of interaction in the areas where such interaction is possible. It's the path of halting the rivalry and transitioning to brotherly relations. And the Greek-Catholics don't need that at all. Their rhetoric is aggressive, hostile and loose, and it is in very sharp contrast not only with the content of the declaration, but also its style, its ministerial message, the reconciliating spirit coming from it," the metropolitan said.
The actions taken by the Uniates in Ukraine remain a very serious problem in the relations between the Russian and Catholic Churches.
In their joint declaration, Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis expressed hopes that their meeting will contribute to the reconciliation between the Greek-Catholics and Orthodox Christians.
See the full text of interview under the Exclusive heading.