Moscow, July 27, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has praised Orthodox Christians living in Ukraine for being brave to stay loyal to the canonical Church despite the political circumstances.
"The situation in Ukraine is very difficult now, It is difficult in the sense that the enemy of human race is trying to sow chaff and divide Orthodox Christians in Ukraine. And if one looks at what is happening, even from a purely sociological viewpoint, one can see that people who are in rooted in the tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church [...] do not leave the Church. They keep their faith even when is leads to physical, spiritual and moral damage to them. But devoted children of our Church are earnestly doing their service," the patriarch said in an interview aired on Ukraine's Inter television on Friday.
The interview was timed to the 1,030th anniversary of the Christianization of Rus, which will be celebrated in all countries where the Moscow patriarchate has canonical presence on July 27-28.
Patriarch Kirill said that when he says "Russian" he does not mean the people of Russia, but Russians in the sense the word was understood by ancient Byzantium, from where Orthodox faith came to Rus.
"Byzantians used the word 'Ross' to call all people who lived between the northern coast of the Black Sea and the coast of the Baltic Sea. Byzantians used the word 'Ross' to call all those people, who were multiethnic at that time because there were different tribes, Slavic and Norman tribes. The word translates into our language as 'Russian'," he said.