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Key Russian bishop rules out unity with Constantinople after its decisions on Ukraine

"I wouldn’t call those decisions historic, I would call them brigandish," he said

MOSCOW, October 14. /TASS/. The Constantinople Patriarchate’s decisions regarding Ukraine are erroneous and unlawful, and make its further unity with the Russian Orthodox Church impossible, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said.

"I wouldn’t call those decisions historic, I would call them brigandish. In this case, we have to deal with an erroneous decision that would entail far-reaching negative consequences. There is no way we can agree to those decisions, and I think that many local churches will disagree with them as well," Hilarion during the ‘Church and World’ broadcast aired by the Rossiya-24 TV on Saturday night.

"The most serious violation is that Patriarch Bartholomew recognized the leaders of the schism, and, therefore, legitimized the decades-long schism itself, making it impossible for us to be in unity with the Constantinople Patriarchate," he added.

On October 11, a Synod meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to "proceed to the granting of Autocephaly 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.

Earlier, Vladimir Legoida, the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for relations with the public and media, said that the Holy Synod would give assessments to the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on Ukraine on October 15.