Moscow, September 3, Interfax - The efforts being made by the Ukrainian leadership to secure autocephalous status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are a political project and an attempt to elevate this leadership's electoral ratings, Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, said.
"In this particular case, we should certainly understand that the incumbent Ukrainian authorities have half a year before the next elections, there have been no real successes, the economic situation is grave, the political situation is extremely unstable, the people's discontent is growing, and they need some loud success to elevate their ratings. And so they decided to bring to an end the project that the schismatics started quarter a century ago and didn't succeed," Metropolitan Hilarion said in a program shown on the Rossiya-24 (VGTRK) television channel.
Political authorities often meddle in ecclesiastical affairs, which often harms the Church, he said.
"If, God forbid, the things develop this way, of which some are dreaming [...], that is, if a tomos is granted and autocephaly is declared, this means most of the church people won't accept this autocephaly - perhaps a bunch of schismatics would accept it, which would legitimate a schism. This would deal a serious blow to Orthodoxy in Ukraine. In fact, this would produce another schism, and what is most important, this would split the entire body of global Orthodoxy," he said.