Patriarch Kirill: I Urge everyone to prayer for peace in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church


21 December 2018 in the Hall of Church cathedrals of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour under chairmanship of Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill began the annual Diocesan Assembly of the city of Moscow, reports patriarhiei.

At the beginning of his report, his Holiness touched upon the intervention of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the internal life of the Russian Orthodox Church on the territory of Ukraine.

“This year has been very challenging for the entire Russian Orthodox Church, and especially for Orthodox believers of Ukraine. Even 1030-anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’, bright an occasion to remember about the centuries-old unity of our peoples, preserved from the times of Saint Prince Vladimir, some politicians and supported by the leaders of the schism tried to use that as an excuse to split our Church. And the saddest thing is that in this endeavor they were supported by the Constantinople Patriarchate,” the Patriarch noted.

“At that time, as representatives of local Orthodox Churches arrived in Moscow and Kiev in order to pray and celebrate with us, the messengers of Constantinople was occupied by another. They communicated with secular leaders and with people who are far from the Orthodox Church,” continued the Primate.

His Holiness recalled that in September he was assigned to Kiev “exarchs” of the Constantinople see, that was a gross violation of Church canons and received a proper assessment from the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, was terminated prayerful remembrance the name of the Patriarch of Constantinople for the Patriarch’s divine services in the Russian Orthodox Church suspended a concelebration with the hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

“Unfortunately, this anticanonically aggression of Constantinople did not stop, — stated the Patriarch. On 11 October the Patriarchate of Constantinople announced the decisions of its Synod to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church, which is actually about what did not ask; to restore the Holy orders of the leaders of the Ukrainian division, to cancel all imposed on them to canonical sanctions and indiscriminately accept all of them and their followers into communion; undo signed 332 years ago, the Cathedral of the instrument of transfer of the Kyiv Metropolitanate into the Moscow Patriarchate; to open in Kiev their stavropigio. All this was accompanied by a hypocritical appeal to refrain from seizures of temples and violence “for the sake of peace and love,” while the pressures on bishops, clergy, monastics and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, not wishing to participate in anticanonically endeavours of politicians and schismatics, in fact became stronger.”

The Primate of the Russian Church reminded that senior officials of the Ukrainian state began to publicly state that believers of the canonical Church — strangers, denying them the right to stay in their own country. “And we are talking about the millions of citizens of Ukraine! In fact, the Synod of Constantinople and its Patriarch took the side of the persecutors,” he testified to his Holiness.

“I say this with great pain, because we are talking about ecclesiastical authority of the Local Church, which was our Mother, the people I’ve met, prayed, and sought a common understanding of what is unity,” — said the Patriarch.

“But the truth demands to say that this is not the first time. Remember the 20-ies, 30-ies of the last century, back to the time of St. Tikhon. The Russian Church was subjected to atheistic persecution, and Constantinople had done everything possible to tear from her living body the parts that were within reach: Estonia, Finland, Poland, Latvia. Remember how he tried the Patriarch of Constantinople Gregory VII to depose of St. Tikhon, the Confessor, turning to him with an appeal to renounce the Patriarchate, and ostensibly for the good of the “world” of the Church, for the celebration of “love”, which says the current successor of Patriarch Gregory,” reminded his Holiness.

“We can’t perform the Sacraments, along with those who entered into communication with those who have departed into schism and even excommunicated from the Church — said the Patriarch. — We say “Christ is in our midst” those who now oppressed in the Ukraine, those of our brethren with whom we feel solidarity. We admire their courage, humility, spiritual boldness. We pray for them at every Liturgy, we pray for the unity of our Local Church and the unity of Holy Orthodoxy in the world. But we can’t say these same words, “Christ is in our midst” those who were on the same side with the persecuted and the persecutors. Therefore, in the current situation, our Holy Synod has accepted the decision which was to accept: “in view of the ongoing anticanonicity of action of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to recognize it impossible to stay with him in Eucharistic communion””.

“In these conditions we need to grow in prayer, because the prayer of the Church — a great power. In September, the Holy Synod blessed to pray in all churches of the Russian Orthodox Church during the Liturgy, special fervent prayer about the unity of Holy Orthodoxy. And I encourage each of you to hot, anxious, heart-felt prayer about the unity of the Holy churches of God, about the world to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Lift up these petitions not only for worship, but in the home prayer, repeat them in the pilgrimage, call to this your congregation, please contact with the heart and the groaning Martyr of recent times — St. Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev, a century of slaughter which had at the beginning of this year, that he by his intercession was taken from the Ukrainian Church the new threat of suffering” — concluded Patriarch Kirill.

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