MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East John X thinks that the church split in Ukraine is politically motivated, the Moscow Patriarchate website informed on Tuesday.
"The split in Ukraine, organized by non-Orthodox people is a political process masquerading as a religious one," the website quotes the patriarch’s statements made during the meeting with the Russian delegation headed by Russian State Duma MP Dmitry Sablin. The meeting took place in Damascus on Tuesday, January 17.
The Moscow Patriarchate website noted that the Patriarch of Antioch expressed his regret over the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople "does not hear the voice of faith".
At the same time, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Civil Society, Public and Religious Organizations Sergei Gavrilov, who also participated in the meeting, stated that Western institutions attempt "to violate the integrity of the Antioch Orthodox Church in Syria", stressing that the church cannot allow for a "Ukrainian anti-Orthodox scenario" to develop.
Ukrainian church split
Since the February 2014 coup, Kiev has sought to create an independent church in Ukraine that would sever ties with the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In April 2018, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko wrote a personal letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople asking for autocephaly for the Ukrainian church.
On December 15, Kiev hosted the so-called ‘unification’ council held under the supervision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and brokered by the Ukrainian authorities. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church refused to take part in the event, stressing that both the ‘unification council’ and Poroshenko’s newly founded ecclesiastical establishment were illegitimate. Nevertheless, after the council, the Ukrainian president announced the establishment of this new church in the country - the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine.