Moscow, September 1, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church has accused German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of questioning the legitimacy of the Russian Orthodox Church delegation's participation in an Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which is underway in Karlsruhe.
The German president's speech contained "unsubstantiated accusations that completely ignore all the humanitarian efforts of the Moscow Patriarchate in the context of the confrontation in Ukraine, as well as a direct demand that the WCC Assembly condemn the Russian Orthodox Church," head of the ROC Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Anthony told reporters.
The German president's position is an "example of blatant pressure on the oldest inter-Christian organization by a high-ranking public official, interference in the internal affairs of the World Council of Churches and an attempt to question the peacekeeping and politically neutral character of its activity," he said.
The representative from the Russian Orthodox Church said it was remarkable that Secretary General of the World Council of Churches Archpriest John Sauka, who spoke before Steinmeier, stressed the importance of the presence of representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate at the WCC Assembly, "as this corresponds to the very nature of the largest inter-Christian organization, which should contribute to fostering dialogue, peace, and mutual understanding".
This publicly expressed position of the WCC leadership, as well as numerous requests from the Assembly delegates from Germany and other countries to the ROC delegation indicate that the German president's accusations against the Church "do not have the support he expected," Metropolitan Anthony said.
The representative from the Russian Orthodox Church said he is convinced that the WCC will continue to be an "independent forum for dialogue which does not follow the biased political orders of certain countries, but pursues the goal of promoting peace and accord.