MINSK, October 15. /TASS/. The decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to annul the canonical letter of 1686 on the incorporation of the Kiev metropolia into the Moscow Patriarchate runs counter to historic truth, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said after a session of the Holy Synod in Minsk, Belarus, on Monday.
"Constantinople has announced its plans to grant Autocephaly to a part of the Russian Orthodox Church, but the one that once was subordinate to Constantinople. The Kiev metropolia that was incorporated into the Moscow Patriarchate back in 1686 did not coincide with the present-day territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It was much smaller. It did not include Donbass, Odessa and other regions," he explained.
"That is why it runs counter to historic truth when they say that the entire territory of Ukraine has been on Constantinople’s territory for 300 years and for that reason annul the decision of 1686," he stressed.
He also recalled that in 1996 the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople intruded into the Russian Orthodox Church’s domain and established its jurisdiction in its canonical territory. "We did not recognize this decision back then and do not recognize it not. But the canonical crime committed by Constantinople now are much more serious," he stressed.
On October 11, a Synod meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to "proceed to the granting of Autocephaly (self-governance) to the Church of Ukraine." The Synod revoked a legally binding status of the 1686 letter, which empowered the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev. In addition, the Synod decided to re-establish the office of the Stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Kiev, which means its head would be subordinate directly to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Moreover, the Synod lifted anathema from the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine - Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate, and Makary of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church.
The Russian Orthodox Church and other local Orthodox Churches view these decisions as hostile and illegitimate and warn they might trigger a split within the Eastern Orthodox Church.