04 July 2008, 14:14
Patriarch Bartholomew's intention to visit Ukraine behind Alexy II back is a hostile act against Russia, a historian believes
Moscow, July 4, Interfax - A Russian historian believes that if Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople comes to the church-state festival ceremonies in Ukraine without Alexy II invitation, it will be the next hostile act of his Church against Russia.
"Since 1917 the Constantinople Church has always tried to work against Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. It works in alliance with NATO to tear Ukraine away from Russia," the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society deputy chairman Dr. Nikolay Lisovoy told Interfax-Religion on Friday.
Thus, he further said that the Patriarch Bartholomew's visit is rather "a political than a church matter."
The interviewee of the agency reminded that in compliance with local Church rules, Patriarch of an Orthodox Church could visit the canonical territory of the other Church only when invited by the latter's primate.
According to Lisovoy, heads of Orthodox churches came to Bethlehem in 2000, but it was "on invitation of the Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine and not only of Israeli president or Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat."
The historian noted that Arafat participated in the religious meeting in Bethlehem, "he was sitting together with Churches' heads, he had arranged a reception for them, but he wasn't a host, he was an organizer."
"I wander how it might have come to this that patriarchs are coming to the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate on Viktor Ushchenko's invitation! It is as much as the head of Turkish government would invite our Patriarch to Nicea to the place of the ancient Nicean Council. And our patriarch would go there without asking a permission of the local Constantinople patriarch who canonically rules over this territory," Lisovoy said.
He stressed it was "nonsense in church relations" and urged not to mix "apples and oranges."
The historian is convinced that the Constantinople Patriarch's decision to visit Ukraine as well as Ushchenko's invitation is "a straight way to undermine church unity."
"If Ushchenko wanted to tune church relations, particularly with the Constantinople Patriarch, first of all he should contact the Russian Orthodox Church primate as Ukraine canonically belongs to it. However, he didn't do that."
Lisovoy believes that of if Bartholomew I comes to Ukraine, Patriarch Alexy II "shouldn't visit the country."
"We must comment it on church and political level, as we would do if it turned out that, for example, the Georgian Patriarch would decide to visit Ukraine unknown for Alexy II," Lisovoy said.
The Holy Synod of the Constantinople Church has recently informed that Bartholomew I intends to visit Ukraine on Ushchenko's invitation and to participate in celebrations of the 1020th anniversary of Russia's Baptism to be held in July-August.