MOSCOW, September 10. /TASS/. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which has delegated its exarchs to Kiev and is seeking to provide autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church, this way rejects dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church whose canonical territory Ukraine is, Dr. Vladimir Legoida, the chief of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for relations between the Church and society said on Monday.
"What is happening now is a monologue of the Constantinople Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church’s efforts to prevent what may turn to be irreparable are to no avail so far," he said in an interview with the Rossiya-1 television channel.
He recalled that Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill had recently visited Istanbul to speak about the situation in Ukraine with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. "Regrettably, it has yielded no result," Legoida noted.
"Back in April, when [Ukrainian President Pyotr] Poroshenko asked for this autocephaly and it became clear that Constantinople would consider this matter, although it was not the first such request but they had never been taken seriously, back then, naturally, consultations were held with all Local Orthodox Churches and there is understanding that all of them stand for a canonic solution," he said. "Constantinople, too, have been saying this until recently. That is why we are now astonished to see Constantinople rejecting the position it has been speaking about these years."
The Ecumenical Church of Constantinople said at its official homepage on September 7 the Ecumenical Patriarchate had delegated Bishop Daniel and Bishop Ilarion as its exarchs to Kiev in the framework of preparations for granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Ukraine is part of the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, since the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, an entity with the powers of a broad autonomy, stays within the realm of Moscow Patriarchate.
The institute of exarchate means a special administrative and territorial entity in the structure of Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church of the Eastern Rite, which is located in a foreign country and exists to care for the needs of believers of a given rite.
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has expressed strong protest and deep indignation in connection with the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which constitute "a gross violation of Church canons." "The Moscow Patriarchate’s counter-moves will follow soon," it said in a statement.
According to Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the Moscow Patriarchate may sever relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople if it legalizes Ukrainian schismatics.