04 July 2008, 15:46
Russian priest calls "shameless" the intent of Bartholomew I to visit Ukraine without invitation of Alexy II
Moscow, July 4, Interfax - The intent of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to visit Ukraine without prior consent of Patriarch Alexy II shows his full disregard of the Russian Church, Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Relations with the Armed Forces, says.
"Such attitude of Constantinople patriarchs to canons, history, and this country is shameless. Nothing can explain it to Russians. May be it is some inner irritation which drowns historical gratitude which they should feel," Fr. Dimitry said Friday to Interfax-Religion.
"We feel completely ignored - there is no canons, no Russian Patriarch, and no Russian Church," Fr. Dimitry said.
This is how he commented the intent of Bartholomew I to attend the celebration of 1020th anniversary of Baptism of Russia in Ukraine by the invitation of Victor Yushenko but without the relevant invitation by Alexy II.
According to Fr. Dimitry, this invitation of Bartholomew I to Ukraine and attempts to establish the independent of Moscow Orthodox Church in this country were the "result of consultations by Yushchenko's allies who helped him to come to power and hold it."
"This is one segment of the global politics which is aimed at making troubles for Russia," Fr. Dimitry said.
Commenting prior statements and actions of some members of Constantinople Patriarchate aimed at supporting the Ukrainian church separatists, Fr. Dimitry said, "The fact that the American Ambassador in Ukraine was prohibited to go to Moscow Patriarchate churches, proves that the USA Administration has direct relation to all the above. It is quite evident, who they support."
According to Fr. Dimitry, "the Constantinople Church and the Ellada Church owe to tens of thousands Russian people who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of Greeks."
"Therefore, this dislike to Russians and Russia which we now feel from Greeks (Greeks are a majority of believers and clergy of the Constantinople Church - IF) is very regrettable."
According to Fr. Dimitry, the existence of ancient Greek Patriarchates has for centuries "depended on the Russian empire." "If we come to Greek Athos, we see Russian icons and Russian chandeliers. The Simonopetra Monastery restoration was paid by Russian money," Fr. Dimitry said.