2018-07-28 09:07:00

Russian Orthodox Church to resist attempts to separate Ukrainian Orthodox Church from it - Patriarch Kirill

Moscow, July 28, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill has hinted that the Moscow Patriarchate will never accept the idea of granting independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

"The Russian Orthodox Church, guided by the unshakeable holy canons and irrefutable documentary evidence, will never renounce its Dnieper baptismal font, the tradition going back to St. Vladimir the Great Prince and Equal-to-the-Apostles. Attempts to artificially tear apart the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Moscow Patriarchate could lead to a catastrophe of the pan-Orthodox scale," the Russian church leader said at a meeting with representatives from ten local Orthodox Churches, who arrived for the celebration of the 1,030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus.

This year's anniversary will be marked in a particularly testing atmosphere, especially in Ukraine, the patriarch said. To the Russian Orthodox Church, Kiev is not an ordinary city but "the mother of Russian cities, the place of the Christianization of Russia and of the birthplace of the Russian Orthodoxy," it is as holy as Constantinople or Jerusalem for all Orthodox Christians, or as Kosovo and Metohija for the Serbian Orthodox Church, he said.

"Currently the forces foreign to our religion are deliberately trying to destroy the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church. The pressure is now heaviest on the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, its leader Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and all Ukraine, its episcopate and clergy and the flock," Patriarch Kirill said.

He also pointed out the numerous takeovers of churches by splinter groups and the Uniates, the menace to the Kiev Lavra of the Caves and Pochayev Lavra, the "ubiquitous discrimination" against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

"Ukrainian politicians came up with an initiative to create, out of schismatic formations, the so-called unified local church and give it an autocephaly," the patriarch said.

In these "heaviest of circumstances" the support from the fraternal local Orthodox Churches is "truly invaluable," he said. The patriarch asked the assembled to convey to their church leaders, holy synods and all hierarchs his "sincere and deep gratitude" on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church.

"Today non-ecumenical forces are trying to shatter the unity of the global Orthodox faith by influencing certain hierarchs, using the objective difficulties in the life of local Churches. Nor is the church peace helped by the current extremely complicated international political situation. However, the Church knew more difficult times during its history. But with the hard work and feats of our ancestors, the Orthodox unity has been preserved to our days. We have the responsibility to God to preserve this treasure and pass it on to our descendants," Patriarch Kirill said.