11 March 2016, 13:35
Russian Orthodox Church denies plans to take in Uniates
Moscow, March 11, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate does not confirm reports on its intention to take in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Uniates).
"I know nothing of anyone's attempt to convince Uniates to join the Moscow Patriarchate," the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations head Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said in an interview with Interfax-Religion.
Metropolitan Hilarion thus commented on a statement by Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church archbishop Svyatoslav Shevchuk that there are attempts to convince Uniates "to turn to Orthodoxy or to join the Moscow Patriarchate."
"Other things are happening now in Ukraine: by fair or false means there are attempts to persuade people to join the schismatic organization that calls itself the Kiev Patriarchate. Churches are taken away from the canonic Church and given to schismatics. Uniates support schismatics, which is proved by various joint initiatives," Metropolitan Hilarion said.
The 70th anniversary of the Lvov Synod of 1946 that made a decision to exempt Uniates from Catholic jurisdiction and return them to the Orthodoxy is celebrated in March. The Holy See condemned the synod, calling it a pseudo-synod.
Uniates actively cooperated with the occupational fascist regime during World War II, Metropolitan Hilarion said.
"But the mass transfer of Uniates to Orthodoxy that took place as a result of the Lvov Synod cannot be considered as a forced measure only. Documents of the synod, as well as many other proofs, show that an aspiration to return to the belief of its fathers had been ripening for decades. Preconditions for such a realization of such an aspiration suddenly emerged in the difficult post-war situation. And it was realized," he said.
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