Moscow, Russia (Tuesday, June 19, 2018, Gaudium Press) The Russian Orthodox Church has expressed perplexity about the recent words of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who said that the millions of people of Ukraine are “outside the canonical Church.”
“It is surprising to hear from a church pulpit that a whole multi-million people of Ukraine is allegedly outside the church truth and canonicity and therefore needs urgent outside interference. But what about the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has over 12,000 parishes, over 200 monasteries, and millions of believers in all parts of Ukraine?” Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, said in an interview with Interfax-Religion.
Patriarch Bartholomew publicly welcomed Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine at the Sinaxis of the heads of local Orthodox Churches in 2016, calling him “the only canonical hierarch of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, naturally, with all other holy archbishops reporting to him.”
Metropolitan Hilarion said that “Ukrainian schismatics, not the people of Ukraine are outside of communion with the Church,” adding that the schism is a political project that emerged in the 1990s and that it has always been possible and it is still possible to overcome the schism.