The meeting of the Patriarchs of Ukrainian autocephaly: what happened online press conference

The head of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion holds a press conference following the meeting of Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

Photo: Press service of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia

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19.10 Metropolitan Hilarion recalled that in Istanbul today held a meeting of the Patriarchs Kirill and Bartholomew. The first part of the meeting took place in a formal setting attended by all the members of the Synod. Then two leaders went and talked to face to face. The conversation lasted about 2 and a half hours, was very brotherly and cordial, it really was a conversation from heart to heart. This meeting was important for strengthening the bilateral relations between the two churches, said the head of the DECR.

According to him, the conversation touched on topics that are on the agenda of bilateral relations, but also the pan-Orthodox relations. The conversation was heartfelt from beginning to end, the Patriarchs at the end exchanged gifts.

19.15 On the question, whether you discussed the situation in Ukraine, Metropolitan Hilarion answered, “I don’t think I need to tell the content of the conversation the two Patriarchs. If they wanted, they would have done it open. I should not have the right to tell about it. But it was a brotherly talk. Media excited, especially in the Ukraine, but we will not disclose the contents of this conversation, while it would not comment on the Patriarchate of Constantinople. We should be attentive to such meetings, and to protect themselves from provocations. I would like to draw attention to the statement of Metropolitan Emmanuel, which was made in the Greek media: “We are not going to heal one another by a split of a split” he said”.

19.20 it is Very important that this meeting gave the opportunity to share information, compare notes, because very often the parties possess different information. Such meetings give the opportunity to Express different points of view on the same topic and come to a common denominator, said the head of the DECR. Two patriarchs are unable to meet and just make the decision for his Church. Each Patriarch representing his Church, speaks from her face, but decisions are taken by the Synod.

“But let me stress again that the conversation was very friendly and brotherly, we left in a good mood. Now about some solutions that at the end of the conversation can make the synods of the Russian Church and Constantinople would be premature”, – concluded the Metropolitan.

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill met in Istanbul on August 31. Before the talks, they expressed support for dialogue in resolving inter-Church issues. The sides officially announced the agenda of the meeting, saying only that to be discussed “bilateral issues of mutual interest.”

After the meeting, Patriarch Kirill said that it was a good meeting, but declined to disclose details of the negotiations.

“There are always problems that are challenges for Churches with a pastoral point of view. The world is changing very fast, and no one Church can make decisions that contradict the position of the other Orthodox Church,” he told reporters before departure from Istanbul.

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko asked of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church in April of this year. The primates of the local Orthodox Churches opposed the idea of granting autocephaly Churches in Ukraine. UOC sees the possibility of “granting of the Tomos of autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine” a threat to national security and unity of the Church.

In may, the Ecumenical Patriarchate received 60 thousand signatures of the faithful who opposed the idea of creating an Autocephalous Church in Ukraine.

In the opinion of the bishops of the UOC, the attempts of the Ukrainian authorities to obtain from the Patriarch of Constantinople Autocephalous status will only lead to restriction of rights and freedoms vested in the Ukrainian Church with rights of wide autonomy.

Patriarch Kirill has previously stated that “the attempts to tear away the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate could lead to disaster pan-Orthodox scale.”

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