Athens, November 12, Interfax - The chancellery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has ruled out the possibility of its participation in a unifying assembly aimed at setting up a new church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, Metropolitan Antony of Borispol and Brovary, chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, said in an interview with the Greek publication Orthodoxia.info.
"This is absolutely impossible. The fathers of this so-called assembly are supposed to be schismatics, people who call themselves priests and bishops. It is noteworthy that, even though Patriarch Bartholomew himself has announced the lifting of the church ban from Filaret, he has still not united with him over the communion chalice," Metropolitan Antony said.
It is even more unimaginable for the canonical Church of Ukraine to unify with Filaret, considering that, for nearly 30 years, "he has persecuted it with support of politicians, slandered its episcopate, and blessed the seizures of churches and the beating of believers, with overwhelming evidence confirming this," he said.
Metropolitan Antony said he doubted how the tension surrounding the church issue in Ukraine could be relieved. "Unfortunately, the Phanar [the seat of the patriarch of Constantinople] has turned to a blind wall through which the voice of millions of our Church's believers cannot be heard," he said.
The religious schism in Ukraine, which appeared nearly 30 years ago, was caused by the personal ambitions of Filaret, who failed to become a patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, "and the cause of all modern problems is Patriarch Bartholomew's personal ambitions," he said.
In commenting on Patriarch Bartholomew's striving for primacy in the Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Antony said, "The Church lives by the New Testament rather than privileges of the nonexistent empire, and the New Testament says: who calls himself first shall be last."
"And if someone dares call himself first, the Lord also provided an example of himself to such people to show what this means. To be first is not to send directives on submitting others to yourself, as the Constantinople bishops interpret this today, but to serve all others, wash their feet and be crucified for them. If the Phanar doesn't break a blind wall in itself and keeps ignoring the pan-Orthodox dialogue on the Ukrainian issue, it may not only fail to hear the voice of the faithful Ukrainian flock but also fail to hear the voice of Christ himself," he said.