MOSCOW, October 22. /TASS/. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is supporting a civil confrontation in Ukraine through its actions, justifying the seizure of churches by extremists, Spokesman for Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Priest Alexander Volkov, told reporters on Monday.
"There has been neither public nor behind-the-scenes condemnation of these schismatics’ actions in Ukraine. <…> We are thus able to understand that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has taken sides with all political statements made by Filaret, all actions by his followers and the clergy ordained by him, that they support the civil standoff in Ukraine and the harassment of the canonical communities on its soil. All that has never been condemned by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which allows us to conclude that it supports all that," Father Alexander said.
"All this amounts to pretty grim prospects for our believers in Ukraine. As a Church, we now need to think about, be considerate of and pray for our brothers in Ukraine who will undoubtedly go through a time of professing faith," he added.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia earlier said that Ukrainian nationalists and schismatics had seized over 50 churches that are constituents of the Moscow Patriarchate over the past two years.
Ukraine’s church crisis
On October 11, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to proceed with granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. It revoked the 1686 decision on transferring the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and reinstated the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine, Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate and Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, to their hierarchical and priestly ranks. In addition, it announced plans to bring back the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
On October 15, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in response to that move that full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople was no longer possible.