Moscow, October 30, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate said it regrets the official recognition of the new non-canonical Church of Ukraine (Orthodox Church of Ukraine, OCU) by the Greek Orthodox Church.
"We regret that the Greek Church has made this decision, but we understand that the Greek Church is not independent, there is no full autocephaly, full independence, half of its hierarchs are hierarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate, it does not have its own external policy, and therefore it always follows in the footsteps of the Constantinople Patriarchate," head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion told reporters.
The metropolitan said he hopes that "no other regional church will follow this sad example."
According to earlier reports, Archbishop Hieronymus II of Athens and All Greece sent a peace missive to Yepifaniy Dumenko, the head of the OCU, in which he de facto recognized the Church. The Department for External Church Relations of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church called what has happened backstabbing.
The letter, which was published on October 29, was sent on October 21, four days after the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate warned it would sever communion with those Greek hierarchs who recognized "the non-canonical schismatic communities" of Ukraine.