Washington/Moscow, September 3, Interfax - Patriarch Bartholomew has insisted on the right by the Church of Constantinople to resolve the Ukrainian church problem without the Moscow Patriarchate.
"Since Russia, as the one responsible for the current painful situation in Ukraine, is unable to solve the problem, the Ecumenical Patriarchate assumed the initiative of resolving the problem in accordance with the authority afforded to it by the Sacred Canons and the jurisdictional responsibility over the eparchy of Kiev, receiving a request to this end by the honorable Ukrainian Government, as well as recurring requests by 'Patriarch' Philaret of Kiev appealing for our adjudication of his case," Patriarch Bartholomew said at the Church of Constantinople's Synaxis, held in Istanbul since last Saturday.
"The uncanonical interventions of Moscow from time to time in the affairs of Kiev and the toleration on the part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in previous years do not validate any ecclesiastical violation," the patriarch of Constantinople said.
The patriarch cast doubt on the canonicity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's subordination to the Moscow Patriarchate.
"Already from the early 14thcentury, when the see of the Kievan Metropolis was moved without the canonical permission of the Mother Church to Moscow, there have been tireless efforts on the part of our Kievan brothers for independence from ecclesiastical control by the Moscow center.
"Indeed, the obstinacy of the Patriarchate of Moscow was instrumental in occasionally creating repeated mergers and restorations of ecclesiastical eparchies, uncanonical elections of bishops as well as schisms, which still afflict the pious Ukrainian people.
"The Tome proclaiming Moscow as a Patriarchate does not include the region of today's Metropolis of Kiev in the jurisdiction of Moscow. Moreover, after the well-known manner of proclamation of Moscow as a Patriarchate by Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II (Tranos), the canonical dependence of Kiev to the Mother Church of Constantinople remained constant and uninterrupted," Patriarch Bartholomew said.
The text of his speech was published on the website of the (Patriarchate of Constantinople's) Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
Moscow Patriarchate representatives have not yet commented on the patriarch's speech.