MOSCOW, December 5. /TASS/.Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said on Monday he hopes that the current church schism in Ukraine will be overcome, the Moscow Patriarchate said.
"I hope by God's mercy at some moment this entire split will be overcome. And I was glad about the evidence that the Ukrainian episcopate wants to overcome this schism. Their heart has love for those who separated and certainly they together with them suffer from this split," the patriarch said at the meeting with Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church at his official residence in Moscow’s Danilov Monastery.
Vladimir Legoida, the director of Moscow Patriarchate’s department for communications between the Church and society, said earlier the Moscow Patriarchate was ready for dialogue with the unrecognized Kiev patriarchate.
To overcome the split, the Russian Orthodox Church set up a special commission led by Metropolitan Ilarion, the chief of Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external Church relations. Both Russian and Ukrainian clergy take part in its activity.
In 1992, former Metropolitan Filaret of Kiev and All Russia founded the schismatic Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to the Kiev Patriarchate, which is not recognized by the international community.
On November 16, Filaret sent a letter to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia with a proposal on overcoming the split of the church. However, he later pledged to continue fighting for autocephaly (status of Christian Church whose head bishop does not report to a higher-ranking bishop).
The unrecognized Kiev Patriarchate unites about 5,000 communities.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is the biggest in the country, with around 12,000 communities, and some 70% of Orthodox Ukrainians are its worshippers.